6000 housing units to be delivered by December next year – T&T Budget 2020

Six thousand housing units will be delivered by December 2020 by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) said Colm Imbert, Trinidad and Tobago’s Finance Minister.

Additionally, 3,000 units will be created annually going forward under the HDC’s Accelerated Housing Programme, Imbert said during his budget presentation to Parliament yesterday.

The Housing Development Corporation’s Cashew Gardens project. (Photo: HDC)

The announcement came within the context of some 175,000 applicants awaiting housing solutions, Imbert said. “Let me be clear, the low-to-middle income recipients of HDC housing could not have afforded such housing had it not been for our multi-year investment in public housing; yet despite this sustained public thrust, supply of housing has not been able to keep pace with the increasing demand.”

He added, “We have been addressing this acute social issue. We recognize that an adequate supply of housing units has been constrained by insufficient funding and the escalating cost of construction. We are overcoming those constraints.”

The Bon Air North Housing Development. (Photo: Housing Development Corporation)

Among the achievements he listed regarding the cost of such housing is a reduction in the cost per square footage from $1,200 to approximately $600, which the aim of lowering this yet still.

To ensure the delivery of the housing units, he said several measures will be undertaken in the Government’s push to provide affordable shelter to low-and-middle income people.

“…numerous people who need HDC housing, do not qualify for it based on their financial circumstance.”

These include:

  1. previously-stalled housing projects being resumed;
  2.  the Accelerated Housing Programme will continue to generate a consistent flow of new housing units;
  3. the Aided-Self Help Housing Programme is underway with qualified individuals now preparing to construct their own homes on residential service lots developed by HDC;
  4. the Housing and Village Improvement Programme, an affordable and high-quality housing initiative, is on-going with the programme being extended to 100 families residing in Sangre Grande, St Joseph and Marabella.; and
  5.  public-private-partnerships are attracting both local and foreign investors to achieve our housing mandate and are bringing to the industry expertise, technology and finance; construction is actively in progress at five (5) housing sites.

Despite these efforts, it will take decades to meet public demand for housing, made worse by the fact that numerous people who need HDC housing, do not qualify for it based on their financial circumstance. He said “many of the applicants for housing simply cannot qualify to purchase a HDC house, because they just do not have the means. In fact, because of hire purchase arrangements and other demands on their income, such as car loans, thousands of applicants can barely qualify for rental, or rent-to-own, rather than purchase of a Government constructed house.”