Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 13, 2015 (SKNIS): Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Human Settlement, Co-operatives and Lands, has stated in this week’s edition of “Working for You” that the National Housing Corporation (NHC) is working in the interest of low-income and indigent individuals.
The minister revealed that NHC was in debt of $87 million to Social Security when the Government of National Unity took office. Thirty-four percent of the people who contributed to that debt were either not paying or delinquent.
“With a 34 percent delinquency rate you will know that any other institution will be closing its doors as it would be operating in a serious deficit,” stated the Minister. “However, NHC is a corporation of the Government and the Government has responsibility to ensure that what people have is what we call necessities, that is, food, clothing and shelter. NHC is one of those institutions that foster the construction and growth of the housing stock, if not directly, NHC is supposed to facilitate it indirectly. So the role of NHC is clear. We should be focusing a lot on indigent and poor and facilitate those in middle and upper income through the provision of land policies put in place.”
Minister Hamilton stated that progress is moving along at a sluggish pace because of the debt and the fact that there was no funding to complete Habitat 30, which was initiated by the former Government.
“We had to set about to find the resources to complete them,” said the minister.
“That is where we are at the moment, completion of the first round of habitat 30,” stated the minister. “We are at a point now where we have to get something before the Cabinet to determine what is going to be charged to persons who are going to occupy those homes.” The minister explained that great consideration must be given to the charge as some of the houses were “finished above the normal levels.”
“So Cabinet will discuss what it would do to satisfy the remit of NHC which is to provide for the low income and the indigent,” he said.
Minister Hamilton also revealed that NHC will be partnering with the Ministry of Sustainable Development to ensure that land is made available for home construction. However, he encouraged persons to acquire monetary aid from a financial institution to build.
“NHC can facilitate you by building for you, using its resources, using its contract with contractors,” he explained. “It is a method which was already in place and we think it is still workable. Having said that, NHC has the responsibility to ensure that homes are available to certain categories of individuals based on income and otherwise.”