Minister without portfolio (Housing) in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. Morais Guy says he is exploring options with Food for the Poor with respect to the provision of low cost housing for the nation. He made the disclosure following a viewing of a model Unit at the Food for the Poor complex in Spanish Town recently.
Dr. Guy said that given the country’s dire housing needs, it is important to examine all possible avenues at arriving at solutions. To the extent that the Food for the Poor organization has been involved in the construction and distribution of such units, the Minister noted that he would take advantage of that expertise and see how it could be part of the Government’s arsenal of strategies to deal with the housing shortage. He explained that the government is interested in the partnership with Food For the Poor as their extensive network of donors offset the cost of the Units and this redounds to the benefit of poor people for whom they are intended.
The 2 room Units with their own facilities are usually constructed on a build to order basis. According to Mr. Nicholas Zaidie, Director of Construction Services at Food for the Poor, the organization constructs 50 double and 5 single units per month. This, he says represents a decrease in output as in the past, they would build between 200 and 300 per month but due to the world recession, this has been drastically reduced.
Accompanying the Minister on the viewing of the Units were officials from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, including Permanent Secretary Audrey Sewell, Chief Technical Director Fitzroy Williams, Project Director of JEEP, Lucille Brodber; Chairman of the Housing Agency of Jamaica, Maureen Webber; Managing Director of the National Housing Trust, Cecile Watson along with her technical team, Sharon Weber representing Petro Caribe as well as State Minister in the OPM, Hon. Luther Buchanan.
Meanwhile, the Minister has also toured a housing complex constructed by ASHTROM Construction in Denham Town as part of his thrust to identify affordable housing units. These seven 1 bedroom and one 2 bedroom Units accommodate persons whose houses were razed by fire in 2010. He was accompanied on the tour by Desmond McKenzie, MP for the area.