November 14, 2020
In an effort to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the status of the many housing projects in East Trinidad, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Pennelope Beckles led her colleagues on a tour of six (6) Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC) sites on Saturday November 14. Present were Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Adrian Leonce; Member of Parliament for Arouca/Maloney, Camille Robinson-Regis; Member of Parliament for Lopinot/Bon Air West, Marvin Gonzales and Member of Parliament for D’abadie/O’meara, Lisa Morris-Julian. The HDC Chairman, Noel Garcia; HDC Managing Director, Brent Lyons and various HDC project managers also participated in this tour.
At RidgeView Heights, Bon Air, the group was able to see the progress made at this expansive development which has a total yield of 384 townhouses and apartments. To date, 150 apartments and townhouses have been completed at this mixed development and others are at various stages of completion. South of this community, at Woodstar Villas, the HDC’s new housing design was used in this 60-unit townhouse community. This updated prototype which was developed in 2016, is being used at all new townhouse projects and has provided a contemporary look for the homes while incorporating the needs of the diverse families on the public housing database.
In Malabar and D’abadie, there are five (5) sites which will provide 36 single family units as part of the Small and Medium Contractors (SMC) Housing Initiative. The Boys Lane and Holly Betaudier Avenue SMC sites were visited and the officials were able to assess the status of the projects, which are being done by small-sized builders. These homes, which are at advanced stages of construction, are being done for individuals and families who earn under $9,000 and are unable to service a mortgage upward of $500,000. In addition to addressing the demand for housing by low income earners, this initiative will stimulate economic activity, mobilise the capacity in the construction sector and create jobs. Small and medium builders will therefore benefit greatly from this initiative.
The officials also visited Carina Gardens, Arima, where 108 townhouses were completed and allocated during the period 2018-2019. At Trestrail Lands, D’abadie, which has a total yield of 852 housing solutions, a mix of townhouses, single family houses and apartments are being constructed. The officials were able to view the 184 single family houses and townhouses which were completed and allocated over 2018-2020 and also observe the current construction that is in progress.
In her brief remarks, Minister Beckles indicated that this current Government’s housing policy, caters to the low income earner, the middle income earner and the young professional, who may be just starting his/her career and has more disposable income. It is the Government’s hope that with this new approach, individuals at the various income levels and socio-economic standings, will each have an opportunity to qualify for state-subsidised housing. With specific reference to the tour, the Housing and Urban Development Minister stated that these site visits are critical because they allow her to view the projects and see how they connect with the policy directive of the Government. She further stated that she is impressed with what she has seen thus far and is looking forward to the completion of these houses which will provide additional shelter opportunities for individuals and families who rely on the Government for assistance.
There are an estimated 1000 homes under construction at the sites visited today, which will be allocated to applicants on the public housing database.
On Monday November 02, the Minister also visited some HDC projects in South and North Trinidad.