(OBSERVER)More options will soon be available for potential home owners in low-income brackets who desire to access a ‘starter home’, according to the Minister responsible for Housing, Maria Browne.
“There are some individuals who still have some issues finding it hard to meet the requirement at the banks for the houses that cost $125,000.
“So, we will be looking at another aspect in terms of an alternative method of construction to bring down that cost and probably aim for something below a $100,000,” Browne told Observer recently.
She added that research on the initiative is currently in progress, and the options will be presented to the public later this year.
Meanwhile, Browne said that residents have shown a high interest in the starter homes being constructed under government’s National Housing Programme and, to date, dozens of homes have been completed.
“We have been able to construct quite a bit of them; well over 72 or so. Presently, we have some more under construction at the Oliver’s Estate Housing Development. We do have some being constructed on ‘build-on-your-own-land’, on private parcels, so that has been going very well, the uptake has been very strong,” she said.
Under the programme, starter or partially constructed homes are being offered at $125,000, with mortgages ranging between $800 and $1,000 per month, with the first home being completed in June 2022.
Meanwhile, regarding the Booby Alley Housing Project which saw the relocation of many residents, Browne said that construction will commence soon.
“So, with the Booby Alley, we have cleared the site for the contractor to come in and so we will be seeing the commencement and soil turning pretty soon,” she told Observer.
In 2020, residents of Booby Alley were relocated to temporary homes and living arrangements to facilitate the EC $100 million housing project being funded by China.
It is planned for 150 homes to be constructed in the areas of North Street to St John’s Street on Wilkinson’s Cross; west on St John’s Street to Mariner’s Lane; south on Mariner’s Lane to North Street; and east on North Street to Wilkinson’s Cross.
Additionally, 50 homes will be built in the Bolans community, and also 50 in Barbuda. This totals the 250 homes to be constructed via a grant provided by the Chinese government in 2018.
Browne provided an update on the provisions being made for homeless residents, especially those in around St John’s.
“The Ministry of Social Transformation through … the Cabinet, would’ve taken a decision to start a homeless shelter for the rising number of homeless individuals that we would’ve seen around St John’s especially,” she stated.
She added that retrofitting of the site had begun, however, Browne indicated that she’s unable to give an exact timeline for the completion of the project.
“I know that they are preparing that at this point in time in so far as the retrofitting; I believe plans have already started and are underway. However, I can’t give an exact timeline as to when it will be completed,” the minister said.