From left to right: Representative??of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Anneke Jessen;??Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Lands, Edison Alleyne; Minister of Housing and??Lands, Michael Lashley;????Team Leader of the Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme (HNUP)??and Municipal Management Specialist at the IDB, Gabriel Nagy; and, Project Manager of the??HNUP, Sandra Drakes, at the launch of the??HNUP at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Government today launched its Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme (HNUP), an infrastructural development pilot project for low-income neighbourhoods, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

While delivering the feature address, Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley, disclosed that construction work would commence at Allen View in St. Thomas and Garden Land in St. Michael in the last quarter of this financial year.?? It will continue in Cats Castle and Greenfield in Bridgetown, in the second quarter of the new financial year.??

The four-year, US$40 million pilot project, is being partially financed by a $30 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).?? It will involve the upgrading, redevelopment and revitalisation of selected communities across Barbados, the provision of solutions to tackle the challenges of affordable housing; incremental home construction; and the strengthening of agencies involved in the provision of housing and neighbourhood improvements.

According to Minister Lashley, the project "complements the Housing Every Last Person programme", and includes an affordable housing component.

"The HNUP component of the programme will focus on infrastructural development in drainage, sewerage, street lighting and water distribution, as well as reducing the risk of fires and the minimisation of flooding – too often the catalyst for disaster in such densely populated communities…The affordable housing component is one of the key aspects of this programme and has been allocated BDS $24 million over the five-year period of the programme," Mr. Lashley stated.

The Housing Minister explained that the new homes’ component will provide a maximum subsidy of BDS $10,000 to 400 low-income families which will assist them in affording a new home.?? "Similarly, 600 subsidies will be provided to support existing homeowners in undertaking minor repairs and renovations to their homes… of up to a maximum of BDS $10,000 representing 70 per cent of project costs to such low-income families," he said.??

The project will also include a revolving fund of BDS $14 million for the provision of housing solutions to low-income families.?? It is envisaged that the work undertaken would be replicated in at least 10 additional neighbourhoods over the duration of the programme.??

Team Leader of the HNUP and Municipal Management Specialist at the IDB, Gabriel Nagy, deemed the project as well timed and very important.?? "When not planned or managed properly, urbanised areas can be the breeding grounds for poverty, exclusion and urban degradation.?? To address these ills, it is very important to acknowledge the urban dimension of development and understand that managing urban expansion is a prerequisite to tackle poverty, promote economic growth and protect the environment," he said.

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