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Government to implement new home upgrade programme in 2011

General News

As part of the Government’s Public Sector Investment Programme, the housing sector will receive an overall allocation of $845.3 million to finance the implementation of programmes aimed at ensuring adequate shelter for all citizens, including the provision of high-quality affordable housing.

A new programme, the IDB-assisted Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme, will be introduced in fiscal year 2011. The new programme constitutes Phase 2 of the IDB-assisted National Settlements Programme Phase 1 which came to a close in January 2010. Funding of $20.9 million in the 2011 PSIP will facilitate completion of Phase 1 including:

• Final payments for infrastructure upgrades at Bon Air North, Arouca (457 lots); preparation of general plan surveys on sites completed at Race Course Road, Arima, Milton Village Couva, Squatterville, Macaulay, Picton Road Sangre Grande, Wallerfield; and construction of infrastructure at Cashew Gardens, Carlsen Field; Springle Village, Point Fortin; Wellington Road, Debe; and Glenroy, Princes Town

• Disbursement of approximately 35 subsidies at $20,000 per month to lower income earners to facilitate home construction

Phase II of the IDB-assisted National Settlement Programme which is scheduled to commence in fiscal year 2011 represents an alternative solution to bring about an increase in the housing stock to meet increasing demand through the provision of low income houses. It also involves providing assistance to creditworthy homeowners in obtaining loans for repairs, renovations and new incremental housing through private financial institutions, as well as incentivizing the supply of land-and-house packages affordable for the middle and lower-income groups. The funding allocated in fiscal year 2011 for the programme will also provide for:

• Marketing of the subsidy programme

• Facilitating self-help projects that will engender a sense of community and maintenance of existing housing stock in squatter communities that have been regularized

• Hiring of additional staff to ensure successful implementation of the housing acquisition credit facility subsidy

• Self-help projects that will engender a sense of community and maintenance of existing housing stock in squatter communities that have been regularized

A noteworthy element of the new programme is a pilot project intended to benefit 300 families. The pilot will explore innovative forms of co-operation between the private and public sector to create mechanisms to engage private sector institutions in providing housing solutions to all income strata, leading to more market-driven solutions to housing problems and direct additional resources into the low-income housing market.

The Programme, Community Facilities on Housing Estates, will continue with an allocation of $13 million to facilitate remedial infrastructure works on HDC housing sites including electrical installations at apartment complexes in East Port of Spain, Morvant and Powder Magazine and refurbishment of apartment complexes in POS and environs, Couva and San Fernando.

Resources amounting to $33.3 million have been provided for the implementation of projects under the HDC Settlements Programme, including:

• Disbursement of $20 million for approximately 1,300 home improvement grants valued at $15,000 each

• Payment of $10 million in compensation for relocation of squatters from areas required for national development

• Provision of emergency financial relief to needy persons affected by natural disasters

• Continuation of the project for Regularization and Regeneration of Communities of the Greater POS region, with the focus on planning and engineering designs for construction on new and existing sites at Sogren Trace, Laventille; Dundonald Hill, Belle Vue; Scorpion Village, Carenage and Waterhole, Cocorite

• Continuation of field surveys of squatter sites

The Accelerated Housing Programme will continue in fiscal year 2011 with IDF resources amounting to $720 million. The focus of the programme will be construction of approximately 7,281 housing units in fiscal year 2011 on 46 sites throughout Trinidad and Tobago including Bon Air North, Buen Intento, Princes Town, Carlsen Field, Chaguanas, Corinth Hills, San Fernando, Glenroy Princes Town, Malabar, Golconda, Retrench, Toco, Vieux Fort, St. James, La Fortune, Point Fortin and Exchange Couva. The funding will also provide for installation of services necessary to make the units habitable and for security services for the housing developments.

The sum of $20 million will be provided for the High Density Housing Programme, involving construction of residential units at several locations including: Mon Repos and Lady Hailes, San Fernando; Ramdial in East POS and at Mahabir, Alexis Street; Paradise Heights and Leon Dorata.

The sum of $5 million will be provided for projects being implemented by the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Committee (SILWC) in fiscal year 2011. The projects include:

• Commencement of construction of a sewer treatment plant and collection system to service 140 residential lots at Brothers Garth Road Housing Development

• Regularization of tenure of approximately 50 squatter families and upgrade of roads and drainage and the provision of utilities at the Tarouba Housing Development

• Upgrade of infrastructure at SILWC’s Housing Settlements for handover to the Regional Corporations

CREDITS: Information sourced from Government’s publication “Facing the Issues: Turning the Economy Around”
Photo by Wesley Yendrys

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