The state agency charged with providing Barbadians with affordable housing is having difficulty coping with the high demand, according to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Stuart told Parliament Tuesday when the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) took office in 2008 there were about 28,000 outstanding applications for homes at the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
And while he did not say if the number had declined since, the Prime Minister said the NHC continued to struggle to meet the growing demand because of a “strange trend” of mothers throwing their daughters with young children out of their homes.
“The problem threatens to become a lot more acute as a result of the fact that a strange trend has been developing in Barbados, and it is . . . the tendency on the part of the mothers of young daughters with children to ask them to leave the house along with the children and go and find accommodation somewhere else, saying that they can’t cope with the noise the children are making anymore.
“And that has created additional pressure because then these young mothers, along with their children, have to be housed somewhere, and the place to which they invariably turn is the National Housing Corporation. And all of this is happening in the context of a scarcity of financial resources to meet the demand,” Stuart said in his contribution to debate on the vesting of about 63,829 square feet of Crown land in Station Hill, St Peter in the NHC for housing development.
He said the situation was made worse by the fact that many of the mothers being evicted were unemployed “with dead-beat fathers [of their children], large numbers of children and the only place they can turn is to the state.
“And the National Housing Corporation has been put under enormous pressure as a result of that. I know what I am saying,” declared Stuart, while pointing out that in some cases Government also had to provide appliances.
Stuart said the issue was not a political one, and that successive administrations have attempted to tackle the problem without success.
Therefore, he said it was necessary that “we have to work out some kind of formula to accelerate the rate at which we can get houses into people’s hands”.
“The NHC has not been able to respond to the demand because demand has always outstripped supply in relation to housing in Barbados. The National Housing Corporation, and by extension the state, has been made to appear to be inefficient in that regard, but this is an issue with a long history and successive governments have tried their best,” the DLP leader explained.
Highlighting a number of projects across the island, Stuart gave the assurance that his administration was continuing to do what it could to help address the situation.