Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday said the government will be rolling out a project aimed at providing proper homes for the less fortunate in the country.
The revelation came while the Prime Minister was making his contribution to the budget debate in Parliament.
He said the program will be named the New Social Housing Programme, and it will replace the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) / Food for the Poor (FFP) Programme. He said it is in line with the policy objectives of the Government, and it falls within the overall framework of Vision 2030 and should also enhance the impact of ZOSO in targeted communities, where the upgrade of housing infrastructure was identified as one of the interventions required to address the social issues.
The program will have three parts:
The provision of indigent housing, whereby each constituency will be given equal allotment of units. Poor and indigent persons will be targeted, with special emphasis on the physically challenged and other vulnerable persons who are without adequate shelter or who live in conditions unsuitable for human habitation. One, Two and Three Bedroom units will be provided based on the size of the families.
Relocation of vulnerable communities.
The prime minister says that where there are small communities that are not yet well established and which are located in areas that are unsuitable for residential development and vulnerable to natural disasters, they will be relocated. The primary focus he says, will be on ensuring that persons whose lives are in peril receive immediate attention.
Upgrading of Tenements ‘Big Yards’
He went on to say that the physical infrastructure in tenements or similar communities will be upgraded and where
necessary the tenure of the residents will be regularised.
The new Social Housing Program (SHP) will be administered by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), under the housing component of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and
Employment Programme (HOPE).
In addition to improving the housing conditions of the indigent and vulnerable, employment opportunities will be provided. The programme will be labour
intensive, employing both skilled and unskilled labour. HOPE interns who are trainees from the HEART Trust/NTA will be utilised. They will be given initial skills training in plumbing, tiling,electrical works and masonry after which they will be employed on the construction sites.
He said approval is being sought to utilise the balance of the grant funds from the PCDF, which were allocated to the GOJ/FFP Housing Programme for Financial Year 2017/2018, in the approximate amount of J$533M. GOJ support is required for the remaining amount.