Joint venture partnerships are being hailed as the way forward in an effort to meet the increasing demand for housing.????????????

This was reiterated by Minister of Housing, Lands, Urban and Rural Development, Michael Lashley, who said that "with over 30,000 applicants on the National Housing Corporation’s (NHC) database for housing… it is clear that Government alone would be unable to house every last person."

Speaking at a breakfast meeting at the Savannah Hotel today for the launch of a new company called "Caribbean Contractors and Construction Inc.", the Minister stated that although his Ministry had made some in-roads with the construction of a number of houses and terraced units across the island, over the last three years, there was still a dire need for more housing solutions to be provided; hence the need for assistance from the private sector in the form of partnerships.

Stressing that one of the main benefits of joint partnerships, especially in these challenging economic times was that of employment, the Housing Minister underscored that it was the mandate of his government that small contractors be employed in the Ministry’s housing construction and housing repair programme.

"…the prospects for employment are there for a cross section of persons ranging from carpenters, plumbers, tilers, electricians and other artisans.?? For example, at Coverley some 50 small contractors were employed and some 600 persons worked on site," Minister Lashley emphasised.

The Minister also outlined to those gathered that in order to fulfill its mandate, the NHC would be borrowing 40 million dollars from the First Caribbean International Bank to use as a Revolving Fund to finance the construction of residential houses for sale, over a period of five years.

"One such programme that would benefit from these funds is the Starter Home Programme, which is aimed at applicants who are earning up to $3,000 monthly.?? This Programme will be implemented to construct a total of 217 houses; 130 of which will be built at Parish Land, St. Philip and the other 87 houses at Lancaster in St. James.?? And, these one and two-bedroom units will range in size from 595 to 710 square feet.

"Joint partnership programmes with the private sector and Government in the construction of houses is nothing new and has been utilised by the NHC to help ease the demand for housing.?? At this juncture, let me encourage you to come forward and partner with us in helping to push Government’s housing programme", Minister Lashley said.??

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