300 families to benefit from $750M hinterland housing programme
Some 300 families of hinterland communities in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine, are set to benefit from a $750 million hinterland housing programme, a new initiative under the Ministry of Housing and Water’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).
Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal during his presentation at the National Toshaos Council (NTC) conference, said that the initiative is in keeping with the administration’s vision, for all communities to enjoy a similar quality of life.
“We want to move as quickly as possible on this… the collaboration or consultation starts as early as August,” the housing minister stated.
The initial phase of the programme will see vulnerable families benefiting from the construction of homes, and home improvement subsidies.
In order to ensure transparency and accountability, he said the village councils will have to identify the families which are most in need. The villagers will then have to agree with the selection through a voting process.
For the home construction aspect of the project, CH&PA will employ two persons per unit, whilst the beneficiaries contribute the remainder of labour required for the completion of the home.
Minister Croal noted that local materials should be sourced and purchased from within the respective villages.
The minister further explained that the programme will mirror the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded Sustainable Housing for the Hinterland Programme that was implemented previously by the CH&PA under the leadership of President Irfaan Ali when he served as Housing Minister.
Unlike the previous programme, which only catered for roof replacements, Minister Croal said that the new initiative will allow beneficiaries to benefit from subsidies to renovate their homes.
“It can be for may be the completion of your wall, to modernise your home or to help for completion if you have doors, windows to change or replace. So, it will be a hybrid, and you will determine that from the consultations,” he further explained.
The housing minister said that Kokerite village, Region One, will be one of the first villages to benefit from the home construction initiative. This village, which is located on the bank of the Barama River, is prone to flood and efforts are underway to move the residents inland.
The Minister, however, reminded the Amerindian leaders, that unlike housing programmes on the coastland, all costs are waived for beneficiaries in the hinterland. He said a special unit will be established to roll-out the programme.