THE Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has set aside $200 million for the construction of 50 core homes in Sophia, Georgetown, under the Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Programme. Another 119 persons will receive $59.5 million in home improvement subsidies.
Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, made this announcement during his address at the signing ceremony of a $51 million contract for a modern recreational facility in Section C, Sophia on Thursday. Some $2 billion (US $10 million) has been allocated under the Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Programme for the construction of 250 core homes and 2000 home improvement subsidies. “The Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Programme will improve housing conditions and access to critical infrastructure, enhance mobility and safety, and strengthen the capacity to operate and maintain urban services. In short, this programme will make your community better,” he told residents.
As the government move towards consolidating existing schemes, Minister Croal said money has been allocated to finance the Livelihood Restoration Plan to address displacement due to infrastructural projects in the community.
To this end, he said 20 persons from Sophia have qualified for cash entitlements – three for cash crops and 17 for income allowances.
The ministry also presented four mobile units to residents whose business operations were dismantled or removed to facilitate infrastructural works under the various projects currently being implemented in Sophia. Further, 47 bridge replacements were done for persons whose bridges were similarly dismantled, and three house lots allocated to informal dwellers who had to be relocated from areas where projects are being executed. “For all of these activities, we have consulted over 900 residents from Sophia, as we wanted to find alignment with the needs of the community. These consultations have led to 75 residents being employed directly with the project since it started.
“As we seek to enhance the capacity of communities, we have ensured that 30 per cent of labour required for any project comes from the community itself,” Minister Croal said.
Sophia has also been identified to benefit from the recently launched Community Based Employment Stimulation Project, which seeks to create jobs within communities through the purchase of concrete blocks from block makers within those communities over the next five years.
The community will also benefit from the Guyana Strategy for Informal Settlement Prevention and Upgrade Project, which is currently being prepared. The project will ensure access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services by 2030. It includes considerations for permanent settlements for informal settlers in Sophia.
“We consulted more than 100 stakeholders, including residents from Sophia and very shortly field work will begin. When this is completed, using the findings from the fieldwork and the consultations, a strategy will be devised that will guide the government’s approach to informal settlements,” the minister said.
The initiatives form part of the PPP/C Administration’s plans to re-focus its attention on safeguarding the welfare of citizens by creating sustainable communities. (DPI)