The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will begin the construction of affordable housing units for Tobagonians in the current financial year.
Settlements and Labour Secretary Councillor Deon Isaac made the disclosure at last week’s media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall on November 4.
The Secretary said the Division is excited over its plans to build more housing on the island.
“We are looking at the Shirvan Developing Housing Project kicking off as well as the Adelphi Development Project,” Isaac stated, “and if all goes well, we may see the commencement of geo technical surveys at the Friendship Estate, where 165 acres of its 545 acres have been reserved for housing development.”
He said the Assembly will begin distributing 62 townhouses at Adventure, Plymouth to those people who were selected, also by lottery draw, in January 2014. This will happen later this month. These people only recently settled their mortgage agreements. A further 163 units should be completed in February.
The units are for persons earning up to $20,000 a month, who have applied and qualified for a mortgage loan.
“We have built units at a subsidised price of 50% but have gone beyond this to treat with some individuals earning less than $8,000 a month but have not been able to afford it,” Isaac explained.
“The construction cost for those units in 2014 was $800,000, the market value was much more, $1.2 million. We applied a 50 per cent to the subsidy to the construction cost that brought the unit down to $400,000, but some of the individuals who were drawn still could not afford the $400,000.”
He said the Assembly subsidised the housing to make it more affordable for applicants. Some persons earning less than $8,000 were still unable to the housing, Isaac stated, so the Division is looking at constructing starter homes.
He stressed: “We are trying to initiate affordable housing, We are looking at alternative construction, alternative units, we are even looking at green heart(wood) solutions because there are individuals who wouldn’t have a problem using green heart wood to construct their units and put a facade on the outside to make it look like concrete, which is more affordable.”
Isaac said the Executive Council policy for the distribution of the units is 50% through random draws , 15% for persons in surrounding communities, 5% for security services, 5% for disabled or senior citizens and 25% on the Secretary’s recommendations.