Home construction can help revive the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic-driven recession, Minister of Housing Dr William Duguid has suggested.
In an interview published by the Public Affairs Deparment, the housing minister said: “The construction industry has languished for a long time. Construction will get people back to work, not only carpenters, masons, electricians and tilers, but also delivery people, hardware store workers, landscapers and of course people involved in road construction.
“Today, we will continue work on 15 houses within the $150/$160,000 range at Todds in St. George, and once we get approval from our board we will start ten houses at Rices in St. Philip and four at Applewhaites in St. George. We will also be building 20 quad units at the corner of Country Road and Whitepark Road in St. Michael.”
He said the Todds project and some other housing projects the National Housing Corporation has in the works, are “ribbon developments” that have been particularly beneficial to the Government as they were less costly in the end.
He explained: “A ribbon development programme is one in which the Government or the NHC owns the land and there is already a road in place with the associated utility infrastructure.
“One of the biggest costs we incur on any project is if we have to build a road because you have to design it, do the necessary engineering and put the electricity, water and drainage in place and this is a costly process. With a ribbon development, we can get things done more quickly.”
The housing minister also said the public housing provider is making an effort to refund people who had requested properties and made deposits on them but were unsuccessful in acquiring accommodation through the state-run agency.
Dr Duguid said: “We had a situation where people had paid deposits into the NHC since 2007 and up to 2021 were unable to get their money back. We have 540 people on that list and so far we have managed to refund 140 of them, in the form of bonds or cash.
“I am encouraging anyone who got a letter from the NHC to come in, make arrangements and give us the details so we can get the deposits back to you as quickly as possible.” (DH)