$.5 million limit for public housing in Tobago

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will no longer construct housing costing more than $500,000.

Secretary of Settlements and Labour Deon Isaac said constructing housing at high cost is not sustainable, and many of the island’s 7,500 public housing applicants would not qualify for a mortgage beyond $450,000. He was speaking at the start of the three-week public viewing of the first alternative housing model unit at Kilgwyn in Bon Accord, West Tobago on Monday.

The THA is shifting its focus from providing a large subsidy in its public housing programme.

The Assembly, through its Division of Settlements and Labour has subsidised houses between 40 percent and 60 percent of the cost of constructing a unit.

“In my opinion this subsidy is extremely high and the Assembly just cannot continue to maintain this high subsidy considering the economic challenges that our country and this island is facing and will continue to face,” Isaac stated.

The three-bedroom alternative housing model unit was constructed in three months at a cost of $485,000 but will have to be subsidised. The unit also has a kitchen, living room, porch, wash room and bathroom. It has electricity and pipe-borne water.

The Unicomer Group (Courts Trinidad and Tobago) provided the household furniture and appliances for the model unit.

Isaac said, the Division developed the prototype to explore alternative means and methods of construction in order to improve the quality of Tobago’s housing stock.

The Settlements Secretary said similar two- and three bedroom units will be constructed starting next month at Buccoo, and in other locations.

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