Simpson Miller: Jamaica’s Government “Focused” on Affordable Housing

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Above: Kingston (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica is committed to providing affordable housing, according to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

“My administration is focused on getting houses and lands into the hands of as many persons as possible,” she said. “We are committed to giving priority status to housing for low-income earners.”

Simpson Miller was speaking this week at a function to launch the First Step Homes initiative, a programme of Jamaica’s National Housing Trust.

Under the programme, the Trust will be partnering with the Housing Agency of Jamaica and Food For the Poor to provide starter homes for low-income earners and NHT contributors who make up to J$7,500 per week. That is about $82 USD per week.

Those who are eligible under the programme receive a start home that can be converted into a two-bedroom home, with living and dining quarters and bathroom.

The tenants will be required to complete the electrical works and wiring, along with installing their own kitchen fixtures and amenities, according to the government.

The units will cost roughly $12,000 USD.

“This is one of several government initiatives to transform the lives of Jamaicans, who have not been able to take advantage of home ownership opportunities in the past,” she said. “I commend Food for the Poor for partnering with government and the NHT on this initiative.”

Another project, the 288-lot Hampden Heights Housing Development, was recently established under the Sugar Workers Housing Programme.

“To a large extent, our history has been shaped by the strong desire of persons who were enslaved to own a piece of ground and a roof over their heads,” the Prime Minister sald. “Owning your own home means you now own something concrete, something of value that you can pass on from one generation to another.”

According to government figures, the NHT has developed 2,327 lots and 459 studio units in the last 10 years.