The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has introduced two initiatives to assist Tobagonians in owning their own homes.
The Assembly has entered into a formal arrangement with First Citizens to establish a Tobago Home Ownership Saving Plan for Young People. It is open to young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who are required to save $100. a week or $400. a month over a period of five years. At the end of this period the money can be withdrawn with interest to purchase an Assembly constructed home or purchase an Assembly service lot of land of approximately 5,000 square feet.
Housing and Settlements Secretary Whitney Alfred explained that the young person can save $4,800. per year and approximately $24,000. over five years and together with compound interest can amount to over $25,000. “I will really like our young people to take advantage of this initiative. They will be free to utilise their funds however they wish at the end of the five years; but the guarantee benefits are a house or a piece of land roughly 5,000 square feet.,” he said.
Alfred added that he would like the parents, guardians, relatives, and friends of young people in Tobago to encourage them to make use of this saving plan.
He said the second initiative which could bear much fruit was the Home Construction Grant. He explained: “If you have legal title to a piece of land and you are desirous of building your own house, your salary is between $24,000. and $40,000. per year which will work out to about $2,000. – $3,300. per month then we will give you a non-refundable grant of $50,000. to assist you with the down payment and the legal fees to get a loan from the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Limited (TTMF) or any other approved financial institution to build your own house.
“If your salary is between $40,000. to $75,000. per annum – that is between $3,333. to $6,250. per month we give you a non-refundable Grant of $35,000. to assist you with the down payment and the legal fees to get a loan from TTMF or any other approved financial institution to build your own house,” Alfred said.
The Settlements Secretary said: “This sounds too good to be true; but it is true, let us not delude ourselves, the Division of Settlement and Labour cannot build enough houses to satisfy the demand for houses in Tobago. It is therefore our hope that these two new initiatives in the long run could make a slight dent in this great demand for houses in Tobago.”
The Assembly is currently offering a Home Improvement Grant and Home Improvement Subsidy to qualifying applicants and has almost put in place a Home Completion Grant.