Thursday 9 July, 2020

T&T granted US$50M loan to improve low-income homes, urban spaces

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$50 million (TT$338 million) loan to improve the living conditions of low-income households and invest in urban spaces in Trinidad and Tobago.

In a statement, Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn, Minister in the Ministry of Planning and Development, said the initiative will help upgrade living conditions in the capital as well as urban spaces across the country. 

“The Government is pleased to partner with the IDB on this initiative that will see sites upgraded from Sangre Grande to Diego Martin, urban regeneration in both Port of Spain and Scarborough and the strengthening of the housing sector for the benefit of all citizens."

“This initiative will also directly support more than 3,500 households to affordably improve their housing conditions with a special focus on assisting low-income families.”

The Urban Upgrading and Revitalization Program is part of the Government’s strategy to foster more sustainable development and is directly aligned with the Vision 2030 National Development Strategy for Trinidad and Tobago under Theme III, Putting People First; Nurturing our Greatest Asset. The Program has four key components to fulfil its core objective, these include: (i) improving the livability of urban settlements; (ii) boosting urban renewal; (iii) enhancing housing conditions of low-income households; and (iv) working with key stakeholders to address the medium-term housing and sustainable urban development needs of the country.

The Program is the fourth successive IDB-financed housing and urban development operation in Trinidad and Tobago and it includes several innovative elements.

One such element is the incorporation of green-building and infrastructure technologies, which will see climate change adaptation and mitigation features included.

An urban regeneration element will promote the transformation of urban spaces with an emphasis on encouraging sustainable use and increasing their aesthetic attractiveness and resilience.

Another element will see low-income households being linked with potential private finance opportunities to better their housing conditions.

Crichlow-Cockburn said the ability of this project to cross-cut climate change, building sustainable communities and reducing inequality is highly commendable and the Government is looking forward to getting to the implementation phase, for the benefit of all citizens.

“The IDB’s very first housing project in T&T was in 1968 and from the 1990s onwards, our support to this sector has seen over 18,000 families benefit from our work with the Government,” said Rocío Medina-Bolívar, Country Representative for the IDB Group in Trinidad and Tobago.

“We are committed to supporting the Government’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of its citizens and transform its urban spaces to enhance their physical quality and improve economic performance,” she added.

Similar to the most recent IDB-financed housing operation completed in 2017, the Program will be executed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and their Programme Monitoring, Coordinating and Evaluation Unit. It will be executed over a period of six years and the repayment term will be twenty-four years with a grace period of six and a half years and an interest rate based on LIBOR (the London Inter-bank Offered Rate). 

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