Innovative housing solutions which are safe, of good quality and affordable must be found for all Barbadians.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart expressed this view today as he addressed the opening of a two-day National Consultation on Housing and Sustainable Development, at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa.

Mr. Stuart told his audience that the demand continues for the development of significant numbers of suburban residential developments outside of the urban corridor.

He said that while the planning system created lots to meet the high residential demand, the majority of these developments did not reach the population that had the greatest need, namely the lower middle and low income earners.?????Government cannot and should not be solely responsible for meeting the housing needs of these members of our population???.

???As a society, we will be judged on how best we have made provision to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us, for example those living with HIV who continue to face stigma and discrimination; assisted living facilities for the elderly and shelter for the temporarily homeless. I believe that the services which our brothers and sisters require can be met by both the public and private sectors working in a creative and civilised partnership,??? he stated.

The Prime Minister stressed that the overall approach to the planning and design of housing solutions must be cognisant of the changing conceptualisation of family and community. In addition, he said it must also be done through lenses that observe that land is a finite resource.

He noted that when the need for a rejuvenation of our primary urban centre was enjoined to the discussion, the necessity for higher density options must be placed on the table.

???It is with this in mind that Government will continue to thoughtfully explore the use of high rise buildings in Bridgetown, its suburban environs and add services in rural Barbados to create more lots and ease the demand on the National Housing Corporation,??? he assured the gathering.

Mr. Stuart disclosed that a stakeholder consultation and community meetings would take place over the next six to eight weeks, and the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development would prepare a Plan of Action to serve as a roadmap for housing and sustainable urban development over the next 20 years.

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