The Home Ownership Providing Energy (HOPE) project at Vespera Gardens, Lancaster, St. James, was launched yesterday by Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance, Dr. William Duguid. In attendance were Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, and other government officials.
In his opening remarks to introduce the project, Minister Duguid asked: “Can you imagine being able to buy a two-bedroom wall house and land today for less than $800 per month, or owning a three-bedroom house and land for about $1,000 monthly? That … is the purpose of HOPE Inc. … to put good housing solutions within the easy affordable reach of the average public officer, or private sector worker.”
He continued: “Government’s vision is to drive down house and land prices to satisfy what is a basic human need, and a fundamental human right, a right to adequate and affordable housing in Barbados. But I want to say that it is a vision and a duty that this Government will never grow tired, of striving to fulfill … and that is what HOPE Inc. is doing here this morning …. The demand is great, but it is our daily task to find creative ways of meeting it and that is what HOPE Inc. is doing here.”
The Minister said the project would provide 640 housing solutions in the new financial year and 2,500 within the next five years. Thirty-two houses are expected to be constructed at Vespera Gardens.
“It’s not lost on me that the land on which we stand is owned by the National Housing Corporation (NHC)…. Both HOPE and the National Housing Corporation are entities under the umbrella of the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Maintenance. And as we are going to use both to promote the national agenda of fast tracking adequate, affordable shelter to all income groups in Barbados, HOPE Inc. will focus … on managing the rollout of hundreds of homes for sale, the NHC will focus … on rebuilding and maintaining rental inventory, restoring derelict properties, providing affordable sales of land and constructing houses on a slightly smaller scale, both entities will be complementing rather than competing with each other,” Dr. Duguid disclosed.
Stating that there was still much work to be done “to fulfill the promise of HOPE”, he stated: “But together, we are going to put our shoulders to the wheel and get it done, and we encourage the private sector to join us.”