Holness calls for greater private sector role in housing development
Prime Minister Andrew Holness addresses the recent handing-over of 40 news houses in the Nashville Mews housing development in St Mary. (Photos: Llewelyn Wynter)
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has commended the National Housing Trust (NHT) on its Labour and Small Materials Programme (LSMP), even as he calls for greater private sector involvement in housing nationally.
The prime minister says the Government wants to work with private developers to increase the production of houses to make more solutions available to Jamaicans.
His remarks came at a recent handing-over ceremony for 40 two-bedroom units by the NHT in Nashville, St Mary. The units were built under the LSMP, which seeks to use local contractors in the delivery of housing solutions.
“From a national strategic level, this programme is an opportunity to bring private sector developers, young people and small contractors into the big picture” the PM said. He noted that while private developers are involved in housing development, not many are at the low-income level, and the NHT’s LSMP is a good way to get them involved.
The programme is open to all qualified contractors who express an interest in participating, and who meet certain established criteria. Under the agreement, the contractors construct NHT-standard housing units at costs based on NHT-established rates. The objectives of the programme are to, among other things, generate economic activity at the local level within communities through the employment of the local labour force and the purchase of small materials from local hardware stores.
The NHT’s Chairman, Ambassador Dr Nigel Clarke, in bringing remarks at the handing-over ceremony, said the NHT has in the works additional projects for St Mary, which will see it bringing over 300 housing solutions to the parish.
He said, “the low-income housing problem is not one the public sector alone can solve. We must mobilise private sector resources to help address the challenge.”
Dr Clarke said in addition to the labour and Small Materials Programme (LSMP), the NHT is encouraging private sector developers to get involved in housing under a special housing developers’ programme that is expected to fast-track the trust’s delivery of housing solutions.
The NHT has started over 4,500 housing solutions this year, reportedly the most in over 15 years. The housing delivery plan projects the start of over 15,000 housing solutions by 2020.
The units at Nashville Mews feature a modern, open-plan living space concept, allowing for the dining and kitchen areas to flow together.
The development also includes 63 serviced lots, which were previously delivered.
The NHT’s Managing Director, Martin Miller, in welcoming the new beneficiaries, said: “today’s handing-over ceremony represents the NHT’s belief that each and every Jamaican, regardless of background, income or gender, should have an opportunity to own their home.”
The Nashville Mews development was completed at a cost of $460 million.
St Mary housing