It is the dream of every individual to own a home. Older folk always say that people should always look for somewhere to rest their head; it is the home that often becomes the centre of the family.
There are families that trace their origin to a certain home and the building remains at the centre of family traditions. But if the truth be told, not everyone will own a home for a variety of reasons: some because their financial status would not allow it and others because they seek things that they consider more important.
In the 1950s, with the advent of the PPP Government, at a time when many rural folks lived in thatched houses and logies, the government began a programme to construct homes, and so emerged the first housing schemes. They were built in many parts of the country, but particularly in the city.
This programme continued in the 1970s with numerous self-help housing schemes. These were subsidized by the government; the potential owners provided the labour and for a while, the pressure for homes decreased.
Nearly two decades later the housing drive was resurrected, but this time there was a programme to provide people with house lots. Of course, there were the critics who complained that without money, people were unable to exploit the house lots, although areas like South Sophia, Liliendaal, parts of West Demerara and Berbice soon proved the critics wrong.
People started small then expanded. The more affluent built their homes at places like Diamond. Some bought homes from realtors who constructed them and then sold them to the needy homeowner.
This programme took on a life of its own because people ran away from rental houses, some choosing to squat on government reserves, at great risk to their health and safety.
Today, there is no reason why the average person in Guyana cannot own a home. The tax rebate on mortgage portfolios was significantly increased several years ago, meaning that people could access ready money to build their homes, at rates that are markedly lower. And, of course, there are those among us who can afford the mortgage repayment, so the borrowing should not be a problem.
The government went even further, taking into consideration the vulnerable among us. Money was set aside for those who, because of age criterion and perhaps earning capacity, could not qualify for the loans from the commercial banks.
There are few countries that come readily to mind in which there is such a concentrated focus on housing. And the reason for this should be clear. People who are satisfied become even better performers in the work place, thus enhancing production and productivity. Family units become even more solidified and this has a direct effect on the health of the people and of the nation by extension.
With respect to the direct effect on health, the effects of not having a roof over one’s head are cumulative. While many of us understand that having a comfortable abode may do wonders for our confidence, there is not enough appreciation that, in its absence, a tremendous number of physical reactions are precipitated in the body, all of which feedback negatively on our systems.
There are tax benefits and many other reasons why owning your own home can make your life better. An abundance of other aspects of personal lives seem to fall in place. There is security and peace of mind.
There is a sense of belonging to whichever community you choose to reside. You find yourself actively involved with events in the area.
It is said owning your own home is a strong anchor for your life. Few among us would doubt that.
Nov 15, 2018All systems are in place for this weekend’s Terrence Alli National Open boxing championships which is being hosted by the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) at the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue...
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