–can’t wait to get started
By Zena Henry
SCHOOLCHILDREN who attended the “Housing Solutions 2017 and Beyond” exposition seem to be buying into the idea of early home-ownership.
The idea of owning a home at a younger age is being promoted by the Ministry of Housing.
Monday, the last day of the event, was dedicated to providing housing information to students, especially those preparing to complete their secondary education and will soon be turning 18.
Students from about 20 schools attended an orientation session of sorts when they arrived at Perseverance, on the lower East Bank of Demerara where the exposition is being held.
They were treated to a skit from the local “soap”, Merundoi, before being engaged in discussions and then taken on group tours of the model houses by Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) staffers.
Students were told about the importance and benefits of home-ownership and what the ministry is currently offering citizens.
During the question-and-answer segment, students sought clarification on the application process and financing, and asked questions like whether they need to have children or a family before they could access property.
In relation to the duplex model houses that are on exhibition, one student asked whether her half of the property could be repossessed by the Bank if her neighbour has defaulted on their mortgage.
Some students preferred the single units, while others didn’t mind the duplexes. KJ Felix from Richard Ishmael Secondary said he preferred the single units, although he thought the joint home models were “OK”. He said he could see himself owning his own home at an early age.
Serena Telford, from the same school, thought it was a good initiative by the government to encourage early homeownership. “I wouldn’t be a burden to my parents anymore; I would be out, and this would give them an opportunity to know that I am a responsible child, and that I can take care of myself.”
Telford said that prior to the “expo”, owning her own home was the furthest thing from her mind, but now it is something she wants to achieve at an early age.
At the launch of the exposition last Friday, Housing Minister Valerie Patterson said that the model village will wake up young people’s ideas to homeownership. “It offers our young people the occasion to start their own journey towards homeownership,” she said.
She had asked that schools ensure the students attend, especially those from the higher forms. “Let them come and be challenged to begin to think about the plan towards owning their own homes,” she’d said.
The minister went on to say that too often, young persons have been coming to her office to say that it’s going on years since they’ve applied for a houselot but they are yet to receive one.
But what the ministry has found, however, she related, was that while persons claim to be waiting on houselots for as long as 15 years, they still do not have the money to pay down on it when the process is ready. Explaining how the process works, she said that persons have one month to pay half of the CHPA fee required for the property, and six months to pay for the other half.
What the ministry has also found, she said, is that that payment period would have passed and persons would still be owing on the first payment.
The encouragement of early home-ownership, the minister said, would help solve the problem of housing the nation.