GINA, GUYANA, Monday, December 19, 2016
“We are not about ‘handing out house lots,’ some of which cannot even be accessed. Our goal remains to provide serviced lots, access, electricity and water, and, that takes time. We will not sacrifice quality on the altar of expediency.”
Those were the words of Minister within the Ministry of Communities, with responsibility for Housing, Valerie Adams-Patterson about the administration’s vision for the sector. She was at the time making a presentation on the 2016 Budget Debate, on February 8.
In this regard, and during the months that followed, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) began to move towards improving the housing delivery system by pursuing a range of settlement development initiatives more suitable to the housing needs of Guyanese.
Plagued with numerous challenges; human resources, unfilled positions, lack of capacity in some regards and untimely decision making, in others, in her presentation on Budget 2017 on December 06, 2017, Minister Adams-Patterson reported that the agency has only spent 19.9 percent of expenditure and achieved 30.5 percent of revenue. She told the House that CH&PA will meet its capital expenditure budget of $5.2B for 2016.
Despite this, Minister Adams-Patterson reported the following as some of the gains made in the housing sector in 2016.
Ranks of the Guyana Police Force got house lots during CH&PA’s outreach in Regions Five and Six. The ranks were allocated house lots, at
prices ranging from $92,000 to $300,000.
Squatter Regularisation (community development)
Jubilee payment plan
Between the months of March and May, several persons benefitted from the 50/50 Jubilee Payment Plan.
increased the cash flow of CH&PA by $590M
Jubilee home improvement subsidy
In recognition of Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary, the Ministry of Communities and the CH&PA announced the distribution of home improvement subsidies.
In her 2016 budget presentation, Minister Adams-Patterson alluded to the fact that Government would be moving to drop the age requirement for a house lot from 21 to 18 years. In keeping with this declaration, during September to November, Minister Adams-Patterson embarked on a number of consultations to garner the views of the public.
In her Budget 2016 presentation, as well, Minister Adams-Patterson reported on the defects that arose on the completed turn-key buildings
even before the beneficiaries moved into their homes. She also stated government’s commitment to correct the defects to ensure that the beneficiaries “get value for their money.”
Of the 200 turnkey houses that were under construction, 51 were completed and handed over prior to May 2015: These houses which had a range of problems have since been rectified and the owners are now satisfied.
Duplexes and apartments
During 2016, CHPA reviewed the process of allocating house lots, given the approximately 25,000 applications on file, of which almost 18,000 are low income individuals. Concerns about the low occupancy of many housing developments/areas led to reviews of the mechanisms used to enable home ownership. What has been revealed is the lack of a holistic approach in providing quality, affordable housing in safe, well-serviced communities. The decision was therefore taken to commence redeploying the land previously identified for the 1000 homes project, for the construction of apartment buildings, duplexes and condominiums.
In early 2016, Government announced the new hinterland housing project, which is being funded through a US$3.1M loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Through this project, government aims to build on the success of an earlier one that was initiated in 2009 and wrapped up in 2015, by providing better access to housing, potable water, sanitation and the promotion of women’s empowerment, in the hinterland.
Under this project, 12 communities in Regions One and Nine are expected to benefit, with a total of 306 full houses being constructed and 122 roofs being replaced.
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