Tweet Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness on Wednesday (October 11) launched Phase two of the Luana Gardens housing development in St. Elizabeth.
The $286.6-million Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) project involves development of 168 serviced lots with basic infrastructure such as paved roads, water supply and electricity. The prices for the lots range from $1.8 million to $2.2 million.
The development is a continuation of Luana Gardens Phase One, as the agency recognised the need for additional housing solutions for the area. Under the first phase, 1,032 serviced lots were provided.
Phase Three, planned for next year, will provide a mix of 500 housing units and serviced lots.
The entire project will deliver 1,700 housing solutions to the Greater Black River area.
The Prime Minister commended HAJ for bringing "much-needed housing solutions to the people of St. Elizabeth".
He said the entity is "helping to fulfil the Government’s mandate to provide safe, legal and affordable housing to Jamaican citizens".
Mr. Holness also hailed the entity for realising a profit of $183 million for the financial year ending March 31, 2017, coming from an operating loss of $886 million for 2015/16.
He credited the turnaround to the effective management and strong leadership of the agency.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the roles of the HAJ and the National Housing Trust (NHT) will have to be refined, as their mandates often conflict.
He said the Government needs to have an agency that focuses on social housing.
He noted that social housing "does not mean free handouts… to build and give away houses. Social housing means working with communities and potential homeowners to devise affordable strategies towards homeownership".
He informed that the NHT was "asked to do a missioning exercise for itself, and, very soon, I will have that report. I am certain that the report will look at a re-organisation of the housing sector".
"I am expecting that after that is done, we will be able to supply… those persons who are not able to acquire on the open market and fully supply persons who are able – by virtue of being NHT contributors or having their own money – to acquire homes on the general open market," the Prime Minister said.
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