PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley assures there will be no let up in Government’s public sector housing programme.
However, he said there has been some change in focus.
“What has happened within recent times is that in order to increase home ownership, the HDC (Housing Development Corporation) has been focusing almost exclusively on building homes for sale for mortgage. That means only persons who qualify to carry a mortgage would be serviced,” he said during the Conversations with the Prime Minister Series at Mt Lambert Community Centre, Mt Lambert on Friday. He was responding to a question from resident Susan Figaro on whether Government intended to cut back on its housing construction thrust given the economic slowdown.
Rowley said at the same time, attention would also be paid to people who cannot afford a substantial mortgage.
“If you know how the application list is made up. Of the tens of thousands of people who apply and who look to the HDC for relief in public housing, a huge amount of those persons can only afford a rent.” With the best facilitating policy in place, he said, some people simply could not afford high quality housing.
“So, what we have done is to change the policy a bit and say that the Government is going to focus now, or for a little while, at least going forward, on building houses or apartments for rental to service the needs of those persons for whom a rental can satisfy their needs.”
Rowley said Government has invited the private sector to play a bigger role in producing houses for mortgage “because there is a market there for people who can pay that mortgage and that is the policy the HDC is working on now."
“We are expecting when that kicks off in full that both spectrums will be satisfied.” He said Government will remain a provider of public sector housing.