LEN pushing low-income home initiative

One of the model low-income houses made with laterite blocks being constructed in Amelia’s Ward

THE Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) is currently constructing a sample low-income house in the Amelia’s Ward New Scheme which will be used as a model primarily for the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA).

The low-income housing initiative aims at convincing CHPA and mortgage-financing institutions that a modern two-bedroom concrete house can be built within the $3M to $3.5M range. CHPA will commence construction of housing units to the minimum tune of $5.1M in Amelia’s Ward.

Chairman of the LEN, Orrin Gordon, said that the reason behind the initiative is to assist the small man who cannot pre-qualify at mortgage-financing institutions and so they are often left without a decent home to live in. The house is currently located in Amelia’s Ward and is still under construction.

“We are trying to stay within that range because small people earning less than $100,000 and so on, they should be able to access that housing solution …” Gordon told the Guyana Chronicle.

The financial institutions in Linden, such as the New Building Society, have also expressed interest into the initiative since low-income earners are often turned away for not meeting the requirement. “They are basically interested in the solution because people coming to them and cannot qualify so if you can’t pre-qualify it means then that you will be under pressure; we don’t want that to happen,” Gordon stated.

Linden has a high unemployment rate and most of those employed are public servants working for salaries between $60,000 and $70,000. With a $5M to $6M loan, the mortgage is often $40,000 to $50,000. This is deemed too much pressure on the public servants, more so those employed in the private sector working for the minimum wage of $44,200 and in some cases less.

In addition to qualifying, LEN is pushing for persons to repay a mortgage they can afford.
While CHPA’s $5.1M and $6.1M houses that are to be built in Amelia’s Ward are all gone, the CHPA bought into LEN’s initiative since more housing units will be built in Linden and around Guyana soon.

Minister of Communities with responsibility for Housing, Valerie Yearwood, told this publication that all infrastructures are in place for the commencement of construction in Amelia’s Ward and the process of construction in Wisroc is at the helm of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission with the transfer of lands from the Wisroc Housing Corporation to CHPA.

Mr Gordon also revealed that the materials used to construct the low-income house are indigenous to Linden and the blocks made of laterite are being manufactured right in Linden by Linden Bricks Company. The company, which is located in Amelia’s Ward, has been in operation for close to two years and is owned by Mr. Robert Cameron.
He explained to this publication that houses constructed with laterite blocks are cheaper, durable and are built faster. The blocks are manufactured on spot..
Houses are built faster while cutting up to 20% of the cost, since most of the other material is not needed to plaster the blocks. The houses are also cooler since the bricks are very dense, thus heat takes a longer time to penetrate them. They are also said to be sound-proof.
Further, there is also no need to paint the bricks since they already have a natural artistic look to them, which is also a means of economising. “You don’t have to paint it, you can just add a nice clean lacquer to it,” Cameron advised.