– 400 basic homes to be built, several new schemes in the making
The Ministry of Housing and Water’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) will be launching its core house pilot project as the agency continues its mission to provide access to affordable housing and ensure that all prospective beneficiaries’ needs are met.
Speaking to media personnel at Ministry of Housing and Water, Brickdam, on Tuesday, officials from the agency provided an overview of the progress of the project which is a component of the US$27.9M Second Low Income Settlement Programme (LIS).
Under this Programme which was launched in June 2009, several housing schemes will be developed. It is expected to improve low-income families’ access to enhanced living conditions through housing solutions and access to house lots.
Chief Executive Officer, CH&PA, Myrna Pitt, provided an update of the project. She said that the agency has ongoing works in five areas: Ordnance/Fortlands Phase Two, Tuschen Phase Two, Lusignan B and squatter areas: Binkey Alley and Sophia B.
She noted that there are six other areas that would come on stream shortly and these she identified as are Ankerville, Region Six; Area R and Block Five Eliza and Mary; Block EE Non Pareil; West Minster Phase One; and Tabatinga in Lethem, Region Nine.
The CEO stated that the other component which includes the strengthening of the Authority is on stream and is going quite well.
“We have quite a large training programme with several officers currently being trained at the masters’ level,” she said.
The second component, the CEO stated, will be implemented shortly in the hinterland.
“We have started that as a pre-pilot which will be conducted during May. There is also the housing improvement pilot the partnership pilot and the core house pilot,” Pitt highlighted.
Turning to the implementation of the core house pilot, the CEO said that the pilot targets allottees in new and existing schemes and that it will be implemented shortly.
“On Sunday we hope to hit the press with advertisement for this pilot and we would want to explain in a little more detail what this pilot means,” she explained.
Pitt noted that essentially the programme has budgeted US$2.2M which will be used to construct 400 core houses (starter houses)
Persons who do not have the wherewithal to approach financial institutions to build a home are targeted to benefit.
Alluding to certain design principles under the programme, the CEO said that the agency will be supplying the starter unit which would be outfitted with a multipurpose sink, a toilet and bath area and septic tanks with plumbing and electrical fittings. The houses will be constructed with concrete and timber walls which will lend to further housing expansion.
“The core house lends itself to expansion at the affordability as the beneficiary family can afford it would lend itself to ease of expansion which is critical and it allows the family to expand or improve on that basic unit as their financial circumstances improve,” she explained.
The CEO added that project will target persons who are allotted house lots in existing schemes and who have not yet built as well as persons who might be occupying buildings that can be replaced by core homes.
Advertisements for the core houses will be publicised for six weeks from May 23 and applications will be made available from the following day in the areas that have been selected, Pitt said.
The schemes that will benefit from the core houses pilot are Westminster Phase One, West Bank Demerara, Region Three, Area B Lusignan, East Coast, Section EE Section EE Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara, Block B Bath, West Coast, Berbice and in Tabtinga Lethem, Region Nine.
“In all we are looking to construct approximately 113 houses in these areas. And the advertisement will be quite specific and detailed to ensure that the beneficiaries will know where they have to obtain their application forms and what they need to submit on these forms,” the CEO emphasised.
In addition to the core house pilot project, Pitt noted that the agency will also be implementing a housing improvement pilot in existing schemes. This pilot, she said, will accommodate the improvement of 400 units within existing schemes.
“We will be going through a process of advertisement similar to the core house. We will also be doing similar outreach programmes in communities to sensitise and inform them of the housing improvement pilot,” she said.
The pilot will focus on improving existing units which can be improved. The programme will see the Ministry spending approximately $200,000 to repair or improve an existing unit.
It was noted that core houses will not be developed in squatting areas but the agency will be upgrading and improving infrastructure in squatting areas.
Meanwhile, Land Development and Administrative Manager, (CH&PA), Denise King-Tudor who provided details as it relates to the application for the core houses noted that the pilot targets only low-income allottees and those with a monthly household income not exceeding $60,000.
She pointed out, however that applicants must have an allocation within one of the schemes since the houses will be constructed on the lot that is allocated to persons.
In addition, applicants who have completed payments for their house lots should indicate their interest in participating in the programme. The interested applicants should have procured or have in process their certificate of title or transport.
She said that successful applicants must contribute an equity share of $100,000 towards the core house.
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