Sunday 15 December, 2019

Dr Moonilal condemns Aided Self-Help Housing Programme

Former housing minister Dr Roodal Moonilal condemned what he called a 'collapsed' housing programme and said Housing Minister Randall Mitchell should resign.

The Oropouche East MP said in a statement issued Monday that the recently launched Aided Self-Help Programme is simply a 'watered down land for the landless programme', claiming that Government does not have the funds to provide housing for the poor. 

"The hopes of over 100,000 citizens have been dashed by the remarkable betrayal of the Rowley led PNM government with the dramatic announcement that citizens should build their own houses. The government has thrown its hands in the air and surrendered. This spells the death knell of the construction industry and will escalate poverty and crime."

"After promising to build 10,000 houses in their 2016 budget presentation and trumpeting the private public partnership (PPP) model for building homes in 2017 the Minister of Housing now says "do it yourself"."

"The initiative being advanced IS NOT a substitute for home construction. This is a watered down "land for the landless " program, it was intended to work alongside an expansive construction Programme," Dr Moonilal said.

He also asked what was the outcome of the 45,000-person database of the Land Settlement Agency, which was to be used for the Land for the Landless programme and the 500 applicants who were chosen for the televised national random draw. 

"(Government) spent so far in excess of 30 million dollars persecuting the contractors who they owe, now they have no money to build houses for the poor. What has become of the 45,000 person database of the Land Settlement Agency (LSA) for the land for the landless program? What will become of the 500 applicants chosen for processing by a televised national random draw ? Are these citizens to reapply?"

"To this day since 2015 the EMBDC has failed to distribute one lot of land to the former Caroni workers but has sued five contractors. Now we are told that the lands earmarked for the Caroni workers are to be given away to HDC applicants. This is another betrayal of a commitment make by the government. The Minister of Housing must tender his resignation in the aftermath of the collapse of his housing Programme," Dr Moonilal said. 

Government's Aided Self Help Housing Programme is a housing initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development which is intended to complement the existing Accelerated Housing Programme.

The housing lots will be sold at a subsidised cost of 30% of the market value, which is calculated based on location and size of the lot. 

Eligible citizens without land will benefit from access to fully developed lots costing 30 percent of its market value, subsidised mortgages at 2 percent and 5 percent interest rates from the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company (TTMF), building contractors, pre-approved house plans, technical assistance and oversight for the construction of their homes.

Eligible citizens with land approved for residential use will also be able to access subsidised mortgages at 2 percent and 5 percent interest rates from the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company (TTMF), building contractors, pre-approved house plans, technical assistance and oversight for the construction of their homes.

Beneficiaries will be encouraged to build their own unique homes using their finances. They must also manage the construction process in order to ensure that it is completed within a two-year period.

For more information on the programme visit the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development online

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