Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Honourable Omar Davies signed a housing agreement on August 21 with Food For The Poor in partnership with the Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited, and National Housing Trust to build houses for the poor and low income earners annually.
The Government’s contribution to this project will be funded through a JMD500 million grant from Petro Caribe Development Fund. The construction of the houses will be conducted under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
The houses will be built in two categories: concrete and wooden. Approximately, six hundred (600) concrete units and twelve hundred (1200) wooden houses will be built over a 12 -month period. The 600 concrete units will be sold on the open market by the NHT using their priority index system for the selection of beneficiaries. The primary target group will be for persons who are earning minimum wage.
The 1200 wooden houses will be distributed island-wide, free of cost to the householders. The beneficiaries will be drawn from Food for the Poor’s existing list of applicants, as well as from persons recommended by political representatives, the churches and community groups. The management of the construction activity will be supervised by the HAJ. Funding for the wooden houses is provided by the Petro Caribe Development Fund and the programme will be conducted under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
Minister Davies pointed out that under the agreement, Food for the Poor will transfer the technology for constructing the special concrete units to the government agencies. “We should be able to significantly increase the number of such units”, the Minister added
The construction of the wooden dwellings will cost approximately US$6, 400 per unit, with the Government contributing US$3,200 from the Petro Caribe Development Fund for each unit and Food for the Poor contributing another US$3,200 each. The Petro Caribe Development Fund has contributed $500 million dollars towards this project. The construction of the Concrete units will cost approximately US$9,500 each
Chairman, Food For The Poor, Andrew Mahfood, said the charity organization was delighted to partner with the government to deliver thousands of shelter needs to poor and low-income households, who are always at a financial disadvantage in acquiring their own home.
He noted that thousands of Jamaicans are not privileged to own a home and this hampers individual productivity and contributes to the dissolution of the family. Mr. Mahfood said this latest partnership between the Government and Food For The Poor is therefore a step in the right direction in providing assistance to Jamaicans in need.
The houses will be built island-wide on lands provided by the Government or those owned or maybe accessed by the beneficiaries.
(Sitting from Left) - Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance and Planning; Dr. the Hon Omar Davies, Minister of Transport, Works and Housing and Mr. Andrew Mahfood Chairman of Food For The Poor. Witnessing Signing from left standing - Ms Catherine Williams and Ms Candace Rochester of the Attorney General’s Chambers; Hon. Richard Azan, Minister of State, Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing and Lucille Brodber, Project Director of Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).