A total of 180 homes have so far been handed over to beneficiaries under the New Social Housing Programme, Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ initiative for Jamaicans living in substandard conditions.
The update was provided last Friday as Holness presented the keys for the latest two houses to two physically challenged beneficiaries in St Elizabeth.
A one-bedroom home was handed over to Wellesly McKenzie of Lacovia, while Winston Williams and his family, who reside in Cameron Hill district, received a three-bedroom unit.
In his address, Holness emphasised the targetted approach under the programme of identifying persons in dire situations, particularly those who are disabled.
“We have to be, as a country and as a Government, far more sensitive to persons with disabilities. So, this is something [being] integrated… into the [programme], because many of the persons that we serve will have some form of disability that affects their mobility and functionality,” he added.
The programme was established in 2018 as the housing component of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme.
Approximately $850 million was spent on the project for the period 2018/2019 to 2022/2023, according to information The Sunday Gleaner obtained through Access to Information.
The method of selection of beneficiaries includes submission of applications from each member of parliament.
The houses, which range from one- to three-bedroom units, are built by independent contractors and value anywhere between $5 million and $12 million.
In June 2022, the Jamaica Information Service reported that the government said it was looking to increase the number of units built annually from just over 300 to 1,000.
Speaking a week ago, Holness said the administration is targeting “at minimum 500 new social housing units” for the upcoming 2024-2025 financial year which starts April 1.
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