New Housing Minister officially hands over housing units under the Housing and Village Improvement Programme
Newly appointed Minister of Housing and Urban Development, the Honourable Penelope Beckles took time out of her busy schedule today to meet 78 year-old pensioner, Ms. Josephine Douglas and 52 year-old Ms. Delores Hercules to officially present them with keys to their new homes under the Ministry’s Housing and Village Improvement Programme. Also, in attendance were Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Honourable Adrian Leonce, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms. Simone Thorne-Mora, the Mayor of Point Fortin, Her Worship Saleema McCree Thomas, Member of Parliament for Point Fortin the Honourable Kennedy Richards Jr., and Chairman of the Land Settlement Agency, Mr. Ossley Francis.
This IDB award-winning programme is geared toward improving the living conditions of beneficiaries within impoverished rural and peri-urban communities at both the individual and community levels. The Ministry, through its implementing agency, the Land Settlement Agency, provides the fiscal and technical resources, utilising small contractors within the community or environs to keep the cost of home construction down to $120,000 per starter unit. The Programme which started in November, 2017 is now in its fourth Phase. Thus far, it has positively impacted the lives of 195 families in 12 communities and created employment opportunities for over 1,015 individuals.
The Minister in speaking to the recipients said that, “This administration has always been responsive to the needs of our most vulnerable citizens and today’s event highlights the Government’s commitment in ensuring that our public sector housing solutions remain affordable and accessible to those who need them the most”.
Minister Beckles further stated that, “the Ministry will continue to find innovative ways to provide affordable shelter options, for eligible low and lower middle-income families throughout the length and breadth of this country, so that no one or no community is left behind whether the are located on the south or north eastern peninsula, south or north western areas, east or west, despite our challenging economic circumstances”. The Minister ended by saying that, ‘she sees this event as the first of many such success stories occurring in other parts of the country’.
The two recipients of today’s handing over ceremony are from the community of Point Fortin.