Former NHC GM Assures The Public That The Housing Drive Must Continue

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Minister of Housing, Michael Lashley, presenting outgoing General Manager of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) with a gift during a function at the Ministry’s Country Road office.

The recently retired General Manager of the National Housing Corporation (NHC), Vincent Alleyne would like to see the Corporation continue its drive to meet the demands of its over 30,000 applicants.??

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Staff of the NHC, as they celebrated 36 years, recently bid farewell to Mr. Alleyne, after his tenure of 36 years at the NHC, six years of which were spent at the helm of the Corporation. He joined the Barbados Housing Authority, the precursor to the NHC in 1972 as an accounts clerk.??

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In a recent interview, when asked if the Corporation could maintain its current momentum, the former NHC head stated:?? ???Yes we have to. We have no choice. We have just completed a five-year business plan that will take the Corporation from 2009-2013, and we have identified some 11,000 solutions for Barbadians, so we are looking to deliver a better product for the Barbadian public.???

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According to Mr. Alleyne, over the years, the Corporation had developed strategic business units and had re-engineered itself to better meet the public???s needs. ???We now have specialised units. For example, we have a technical section with engineers, land surveyors… you name it, we have it here. We have a legal section, where before, we used to rely a lot on the services of private attorneys,??? he explained.??

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The former GM also highlighted the newly formed Project Unit, which was dedicated solely to ensuring that a project had a finite life cycle and was dedicated to fast tracking the Corporation???s, Housing Every Last Person (HELP) Programme.

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Following his departure, Mr. Alleyne also implored debtors of the Corporation to commit to paying off any balances owed. ???We have several people out there who owe several millions of dollars to the Corporation and we urge those persons to come in and clear that debt, because it will help your brothers and sisters to also get a housing unit,??? he implored.??Since the introduction of the 20 year transfer programme the Corporation has collected some $700,000 in arrears but there was still some $3 million owed in rent and about another $2 million owed in land rent.

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As the Corporation continues to seek to meet the needs of the public for homes, Mr. Alleyne opined that there was a need for the organisation to build some high rise units.?????We have limited land space and we have to look at ways to increase the density of housing in this country and certainly single units will not do it. Currently, we get perhaps eight to ten houses, per acre. High rise gives us twenty. So you are offering the public twice as many housing solutions on the same acre of land,??? he said.

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Well aware of the resistance of some to the building of high rise units, Mr. Alleyne stated that high rise in the Barbadian context was conceivably, five storeys.?????We can go to four storeys without putting in an elevator but there are certain areas where the Chief Town Planner will allow five storeys. For example, we are looking at Mason Hall Street [where] we will build a five storey unit,??? he said.??

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The next projects to be unveiled by the Corporation will include the infilling programme or the insertion of additional housing units into an already approved subdivision or neighbourhood. The programme started at Sayers Court in Christ Church, where three units have been constructed.??

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Admitting that the Corporation historically concentrated more on the lower income market, Mr. Alleyne also pointed out that solutions for middle income earners were also in the pipeline.?????When we look at the historical data on file, we recognise that the majority of people that come to the Corporation are lower income people and therefore we cater a portfolio basically to suit that demand.??

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???But we recognise that, there are people that want middle income units and therefore the Corporation is looking at perhaps a 25 per cent middle income and 75 per cent for lower income in the future.??We also recently received tenders for a middle income project in West Terrace, of eleven lots with sites and services. That is, we will just sell the land and people will build their own houses,??? he explained.??

The NHC is currently creating a number of housing solutions as part of its HELP programme. This will include the building of homes for lower and middle income earners, the infilling programme and the provision of 500 lots for sale at $5.00 per sq foot, for first time home owners.

lbayley@barbados.gov.bb

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