‘Not for us’
From left: Managing Director of the National Housing Trust, Martin Magnus Miller; Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica Chen Daojiang; Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Chairman of the Board of Directors at the National Housing Trust, Lennox Channer; Member of Parliament for St. Andrew’s Southwestern, Dr. Angela Brown-Burke; and Centauri Real Estate Company Limited Julian Chu laid the foundation stone for the Howard Apartments in St. Andrew on Wednesday. (Photos: Joseph Wellington)
Many residents of St. Andrew’s Constituency Southwestern on Wednesday expressed disappointment with plans for the Howard Apartments project in their community, where 248 studio apartments are expected to be built by October 2024.
At a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the $2.4 billion development being implemented in partnership with Centauri Real Estate and the National Housing Trust (NHT), under the Guaranteed Purchase Program (GPP), Howard Avenue residents were concerned about the one-bedroom units that had not yet been completed. They do not have room to expand and cannot accommodate their extended families.
One resident said, “It has to be bigger. It’s very small. This is only suitable for people who live alone, not these widowed children. I couldn’t pick one because I have small grandchildren and it would accommodate us.”
Another resident, Kamishia Harisha, had a similar concern.
Andrew’s Southwestern MP, Dr. Angela Brown-Burke, says residents are concerned about the size of units in Howard’s apartments.
“Dem ya affi rich people, nuh fi we. the house dem cana all sell already and dem nuh mek.” “We don’t even know if Demoman is giving us a buying opportunity,” she said.
While another resident who has been there for 40 years added, “It would be fine for me as a single person but for someone with four or five children, no privacy or anything like that. It wouldn’t work. If so buy it and rent it.”
A mother of four, who only gave her name as Munifa, indicated that she would be grateful to one of the units for sheltering her and her children.
“It’s good because it raises the bar for the place, I’m trying to find a way to get one. It will work but an overview of the fact that it is a one bedroom but it seems like it’s just the beginning. “
“I want it, I’ve been trying for a long time to look one, and if I’m a one-bedroom, I’m fine.” she added.
Furthermore, St Andrew’s Southwestern MP Dr. Angela Brown-Burke has expressed residents’ concerns about studio apartments.
“A lot of residents are very interested and many of them are already contributors to NHT. When you come to areas like this, there are people here who are willing to buy. There are very few families that when a child gets a big job and starts to earn a decent living they go and buy a one bedroom or two. studio, and as life progresses, when they get married or get married, they can stay there.”
“When the kids come in, they sell that and buy a better home. But a lot of them are looking for a little opportunity and so they really like the ones they can buy and expand a bit and prefer the ones the family can come to,” he added.
Brown Burke stressed that while she and residents are grateful for the 248 studio apartments, she is urging consideration of developing larger homes.
“As we talk to policy makers, drivers and shakers, we also have to make sure that we describe the fact that as we go forward we will also see some of those homes that they can buy knowing that the next five or 10 years will still be fine. They asked if it was designed. To another group of Jamaicans because “Are we doing a one-bedroom business?” I encourage them to make the investments.”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the demand for homes is significantly outpacing the supply of homes in the country, due to the limited amount of available and scalable land and local housing developers to take on enterprise-scale housing projects.
In response to Brown Burke, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that despite the government’s efforts to develop a controlled housing market, homes could not be made available to everyone in Jamaica.
According to Holness, the demand for homes significantly exceeds supply in the country, due to the limited amount of available and scalable land and local housing developers to take on enterprise-level housing development projects.
“We are not able to provide a home for every family now seeking a home,” Holness said. “We have a shortfall in current housing demand and we have a shortfall in demand for future housing.” “We need to get to the point where our housing market, with the support of the NHT, the Department of Housing and the Housing Agency of Jamaica, can adequately plan and provide a housing solution for every household and housing solutions for upcoming families.”
Meanwhile, Holness urged more local developers to participate in the NHT program.
“Hopefully more developers will start with GPP. We want more Jamaican developers to come in because I know the developers are skeptical about the software because it locks the ability to gain appreciation after the modules are built but that is not going to help the people in the modules. We want the developers to come in and be more efficient in the build , so that residents of the country can get affordable units,” he said.