Minister Robinson-Regis advises citizens to beware of scammers
In my capacity as Minister of Housing and Urban Development and indeed as a citizen of this country I have noted with concern the facts that have been revealed from the recent judgement of Mr. Justice Frank Seepersad regarding a ‘money for assistance to get houses’ scheme. Disgracefully this is not the first occurrence, but perhaps it is one of the worst, involving such large sums of money and one that has gone to trial and the scammer(s) found guilty.
As Minister of Housing and Urban Development I know that citizens have a concern that their dream of attaining a home is taking longer than expected and they become anxious, but I must admonish persons that paying scammers will only lead to grief. Members of the public need to be mindful that there are unscrupulous individuals, who, recognizing the vulnerability of some persons to acquire a home of their own will try to illegally solicit funds from them with the false promise of receiving a house in exchange for their hard-earned cash. By resorting to alternate solutions, without being fully cognizant of the legal and financial ramifications of ‘bypassing the process’, persons should be aware that any attempt to breach the established protocol will lead to less than desirable outcomes.
I therefore wish to encourage persons to follow the process for the allocation of housing units. The process for the allocation of a housing unit from the HDC remains the same, as follows:
• An application must first be registered with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. This can be done via an Application Form from the Ministry of the HDC or persons can register online at www.housing.gov.tt;
• Once registered the applicant will receive a reference number, username and password;
• An applicant’s status remains unchanged until the application is selected in a supervised, computerised random draw, conducted by the Ministry.
• Selected applicants will be contacted by the HDC to attend an assessment interview
• Eligible applicants will then be referred to the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Ltd. (TTMF) for mortgage assessment
• Once qualified and a unit is ready for allocation, the applicant will then be advised accordingly.
• Only after the offer of allocation and acceptance is completed, the HDC will enter into contractual arrangements with the beneficiary.
• Beneficiaries are then advised of payment arrangements and such payments MUST ONLY be made to the Cashiers at the HDC’s Head Office, 44-46 South Quay, Port-of-Spain.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and its agency, the Housing Development Corporation, continues to provide affordable housing units to applicants through the Public Housing Programme.
I again, therefore, encourage members of the public to adhere to the process as the Ministry and the HDC work at providing housing solutions for citizens who have applied and who meet the programme’s criteria. Don’t be Scammed!