Minister of Housing Irfaan Ali on Wednesday presented 16 persons with keys to homes built under the Second Low Income Settlement Programme at Bath, in Region Five.
According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the recipients were the first in the area to be given homes built under the Core Home initiative. In his address at a simple presentation ceremony, the minister said that core homes are for low income earners and it falls within the wider scheme of plans to ensure that these persons benefit from programmes and strategies that target poverty directly.
Ali, who is performing the duties of Prime Minister, said that government’s strategies since 2006 were to address economic expansion and growth through the pro-poor approach, which ensures that poor and vulnerable persons are given more opportunities to boost their lives. These strategies also aimed to reduce the gap between the ‘haves and the have nots,’ which the minister said “is not an extraordinary one” and “can easily be managed.”
The minister also explained that the pro-poor approach programmes are continuous and guarantee economic expansion and cater for “diversification where the households can have more disposable income and the use of resources is maximised.” Home owners were also given booklets that provide step-by-step instructions in home maintenance and improvement.
“Core homes offer households an excellent opportunity to restructure their lifestyle,” Ali said, adding that it will allow the home owners to maximise their savings and “within a year or two you will be able to expand the home.”
GINA said about 384 more homes will be built under the Programme, which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and is currently being implemented by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).
The ‘Core House Pilot’ aims to address occupancy and affordability issues for low wage earners. The core unit, designed by the CH&PA, is a modest 330 square foot timber and concrete structure with no internal partition walls, except for the enclosed sanitary block comprising a toilet, and shower. It is elevated three feet from ground level and lends itself to easy expansion as the occupant is able to afford. It is outfitted with a basic kitchen sink, electrical wiring and plumbing.
GINA said the houses constructed at Block D 1 Bath, West Coast Berbice, were completed at a cost of $1,370,387 each, with beneficiaries contributing $100,000 each towards their construction. The CH&PA will continue to provide support in the form of technical assistance for the households by providing guidance for the necessary drawings and estimates to extend the houses as the families’ affordability allows. The CH&PA has deployed a Community Action Specialist to work with these home owners to ensure that they “customise their lifestyle so that they can experience the benefits of having more disposable income.”