Comfort of home
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GUYANA’S housing landscape has been transforming over the years and today more Guyanese, including many young people, now own homes and live more comfortable lives compared to their parents and grandparents.

Home ownership brings a sense of security, comfort and empowerment and it is commendable that significant strides have been made in opening up the housing sector for all across Guyana to benefit.

These efforts have seen large numbers of Guyanese — aside from having titles for their lands — no longer having to endure the discomfort that sometimes comes with paying rent.
Tenancy and squatting have been significantly reduced and homes with large extended families are today virtually non-existent. The opening up of lands for housing and making housing affordable have made Guyanese a happier people, as there are fewer familial conflicts involving in-laws, including restrictions due to space.

It should be noted that persons owning homes showed an increase from 1980 to 1991 and that trend has remained steady to this day. The 2012 Population and Housing Census put the national housing stock at 219,509 buildings, representing a 16.9 per cent increase, or an increase by 31,813 buildings, when compared to the census done in 2002.
This increase when broken down, indicates on average, that some 3,181 new buildings are built every year. Not only are more and more persons owning homes, but housing is also assuming a new dimension.

Today, homeowners are enjoying access to water, electricity, paved streets in their communities and basically all modern amenities at their fingertips.
Undoubtedly, the bar has been raised a step higher and the recently concluded inaugural exhibition, ‘Housing Solutions 2017 and Beyond’, at Perseverance, East Bank Demerara, is a positive signal that Guyana is building on the gains made.

But though remarkable energy and significant strides have been made to improve housing in Guyana, yet great effort is required, as pointed out in a 2016 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study.
The study, titled “The State of Social Housing in Six Caribbean Countries”, states thus: “Despite declines in population due to migration, the Central Housing and Planning Authority, faces the need to meet a housing deficit of 20,000 units for low-income families.

“An additional 52,000 houses are over 30 years old and require improvement. Construction by owners and non-profit organisations cannot keep up with the need. Rapid economic growth in the 1990s has helped convert this need into effective demand.”
The report went on to say that even though 60,000 house lots were distributed across the country by 2005, representing an average of 4,300 lots being distributed annually, it is still below the 5,200 housing units required.

Quite simply, there is some work to do and encouragingly, the government has shown an interest in diligently tackling the challenge.
House lots have also been distributed in squatting communities which have been regularised, but while over the past year the distribution continued with much enthusiasm, more robustness in the process is required.

This is necessary in order to surpass the annual average in recent years and have as much of the 28,000 vacant lots available across the country occupied.
Guyana being a developing country has experienced its fair share of challenges and it has been able to cope through assistance from genuine partners.

In the area of low-income housing, Food For The Poor has made, and continues to make a significant contribution. In 2016 alone, it built 140 of these homes and 3325 in total since establishing operations here in 2004. For the poor, Food For The Poor has brought some level of comfort to them, as there is no place more comfortable or better than home.

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