Government's Aided Self-Help Housing Programme, launched last Friday, by Housing Minister Randall Mitchell is designed to help two broad categories of people. Those who have land but don’t know where to start with constructing a house, and those who want land on which to build their own home. Speaking at the ministry, South Quay, Port of Spain, Mitchell said 1,000 fully developed housing lots will be available for the first cycle of the programme in Trinidad for people who do not already own land.
Successful applicants will have access to subsidised mortgage facilities, pre-approved house plans, listing of registered small contractors and technical assistance and oversight for the construction of homes to meet the needs of low- to middle-income families. The housing lots will be allocated through a modified weighted selection system to beneficiaries using the following criteria: 70 per cent via a computerised draw and 30 per cent based on the recommendation of the housing minister, since he gets numerous housing requests.
“This approach preserves equity and transparency in the system as it gives persons with the greatest need an opportunity to be selected and ensures that those selected are financially capable of servicing a mortgage,” Mitchell said. The qualifying criteria for applicants can be found on the ministry’s website, www.housing.gov.tt. Among them is the requirement that applicants must be TT citizens who have lived here, uninterrupted, for the last five years, with a monthly income, single or combined, not exceeding $25,000.
Application and document check-list forms for Phase One of the programme are available for collection at the ministry and at the HDC’s offices in San Fernando and Couva, as well as at the Land Settlement Agency’s office in Tacarigua. People in need of land will be given lots in one of eight areas in central Trinidad: Chin Chin, Cunupia; Cashew Gardens, Chaguanas; Milton Village, Couva; Beaucarro, Couva; Orange Field, Chase Village ; Waterloo, Carapichaima; Roopsingh, Carapichaima; and Factory Road, Chaguanas. The land being given out comprises “surplus lots” from the Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd, originally developed as residential lots for Caroni workers.They were then reserved for the Land for the Landless programme but were never distributed.