…President commits to ensuring every Guyanese has adequate housing
…tours gov’t EBD housing projects
PRESIDENT David Granger, while expressing confidence that he will return to lead the country for a second term, renewed his Administration’s commitment to make housing more affordable and accessible to all.
As he addressed residents of Perseverance Housing Scheme, on the East Bank of Demerara, during a visit on Friday, President Granger said it was his vision to eradicate homelessness before demitting office.
“Every citizen has the right to proper housing accommodation, (and) we must work to make this a reality,” the President told officials from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) who were among those present at Perseverance Housing Scheme.
“Housing is important to the quality of life. Housing helps to take them out of poverty, (and) if we want to improve the quality of life, we have to improve the quality of housing. I would like to leave office without there being a single homeless citizen,” he said.
Accompanying the president on his visit were Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan; Minister within the Ministry of Communities with responsibility for Housing, Annette Ferguson; and officials of the CH&PA including Chairman of the Board, Elsworth Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Lelon Saul, and Director of Projects, Omar Narine. They had journeyed to Perseverance Housing Scheme after visiting Prospect New Housing Scheme.
President Granger said, for his Administration, the goal is about giving citizens more than just house lots, or houses, but also about crafting sustainable communities.
“In Guyana we’ve developed a holistic approach to housing. It’s not just to give you land and forget about you. We go beyond house lots; we give people a place where they can live. We want to see roads, electricity, schools, and sports facilities. I believe in communities. Happy families, build happy communities which make a happy country. Housing is essential and it is my mission to completely abolish homelessness in this country,” he said.
During his visit, the President toured several houses within the two communities, and was invited into a few that are occupied, including the home of Ayasia La Fleur, the lucky mother of nine who won a semi-furnished housing unit at the Prospect New Housing Scheme.
La Fleur told the president that she was pleased with the home, and hoped to eventually expand the one bedroom unit to better accommodate herself and children. Six of La Fleur’s nine children reside with her.
La Fleur moved to her new home last April after squatting for the past 23 years on a dam in GuyHoc Park. President Granger said that his government is working towards the elimination of undesirable housing situations including squatting, by moving citizens to better housing units through affordable housing.
“We want to put focus on low income earners. This government will provide for poor people as best it could, focusing on middle and low income earners. We would like to eradicate slums, squatter settlements and shanties. These forms of housing should be eradicated from the face of this great nation,” the president said.
Some 100 house lots have been made available at the Prospect Housing Scheme, which is specifically developed to cater to low, moderate and middle income earners. The lands are sold for $92,000 while the CH&PA has constructed a number of 400 square feet two-bedroom low income housing units which home owners can acquire through mortgages.
The Perseverance community has 571 house lots, with 150 being given out as house lots and the remaining lots being sold with houses built by the CH&PA. The units included two-bedroom duplex units, two-bedroom flat houses, two-bedroom elevated houses and three-bedroom homes.
President Granger stressed that it was his Government’s housing policy to ensure there was affordable and accessible housing for all with the new housing policy resting on four pillars, namely reorientation, resources, regularisation and regionalisation.
Regionalisation, which sees the decentralising of essential services to respective administrative region, would work to reduce the rural to urban migration within the country, through the building of sustainable communities within each region, the president pointed out.
“Regionalisation will create greater equality throughout Guyana. I will not neglect rural areas; I will not neglect hinterland areas. This programme of regionalisation is to ensure equality of access wherever you are,” the Head of State said.