Government must overhaul its approach to the concept of local income housing says Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams.
In his contribution to debate in Parliament on a resolution to vest land at Chancery Lane, Christ Church in the state-owned National Housing Corporation (NHC) for housing development, he was adamant that low income housing “does not mean we should provide poor services or poor housing”.
“We need to put aside the concrete jungle, we need to put aside houses or units that are on top of each other where the aim is to cram as many units as possible without providing amenities,” he said.
Abrahams told Minister of Housing George Payne he must ensure projects being undertaken by the NHC should be modern, suggesting there could be benefits to the approach.
“By us revolutionizing the way we approach low income housing and the concept of local income housing we can provide better, more habitable, more welcoming accommodation that encourages more low income Barbadians to be house proud and community proud.
If we want to stamp out violence in communities, we have to start to make people proud again of their communities and want to go home to their communities. If we want to have no littering and have tidy and pretty communities, then we have to make people proud of where they live and encourage them to treat it in the way you treat your property,” he said.
Abrahams envisioned developments that would be energy efficient, in keeping with Government’s plan to transform Barbados into a carbon neutral country by 2030, and have amenities such as parks, the latest technology in relation to septic tanks, and underground utilities.
Abrahams also made a case for residents in the communities where NHC units were being constructed to be given the first opportunity to purchase houses if they so desired.
“If you construct housing in Christ Church, let the people in Christ Church have first call on that housing. If you construct housing in St Thomas, St Peter or St Andrew, then the people of St Thomas, St Peter, St Andrew must have the first call,” he said.