Frustrated with the Housing Development Corporation’s (HDC) lottery allocation system, social activist group Country FirsTT plans to file a class-action lawsuit against the state agency.
In a recent post on its Facebook page, Country FirsTT issued an invitation to people whose HDC applications have languished for the following reasons: those who got approval for homes but when government changed, they lost their opportunity; existing HDC residents who have infrastructural problems which they keep getting a run-around to get repaired by the HDC;
People who qualified and have been waiting ten years or more for allocation; and all others who believe that their human right to adequate housing has been breached by the HDC. The group’s founder and lead activist Daren Mc Leod, issued an official invitation to these groups during Country FirsTT’s second public meeting on the HDC and state lands, at the St Joseph Secondary School on September 27.
“We believe we should not have a lottery system in the first place,” he said, “because housing as a fundamental human right, is also a very critical thing in a Trinidad context and we figured the lottery system is not a proper way of allocating people who need houses. Instead, we need a system that’s more merit-based and more needs-based.
He said the lawsuit would be filed in the High Court in Port of Spain. Asked how many HDC applicants had signed on so far, Mc Leod told Newsday, “We have over 50 people. It’s predominantly those who have been waiting for years, while a good percentage of them are newer applicants who have a problem with the lottery system.”
Mc Leod also spoke about establishing a land registry of vacant state lands, on which Country FirsTT plans to lobby Government to allow citizens to build their own homes.