Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Managing Director Brent Lyons is warning the public not to commit crimes or engage in fraudulent activity in pursuit of Government-subsidised housing.
The warning comes in a press release today and follows last week's reports of a couple who were evicted from an HDC unit at Greenvale Park after it was discovered they were illegal occupants.
Since then, the HDC has launched a campaign aimed at warning the public about potential scammers.
"We at the HDC, understand the importance of shelter to the average low and middle income citizen and this is why we are actively constructing over twenty housing developments across the country.
However, this urgent need for housing must not lead one to participate in criminal activities. Therefore, if you have been selected for a government-subsidised home and did not pay your administrative fees or down-payment at one of the legitimate cashiers located at the HDC Head Office, nor did you receive an official receipt, then you would have participated in a fraudulent activity and committed a crime,” Lyons is quoted as saying in the release.
There are presently over 180,000 applicants on the public housing database.
The release said this demand for housing may expose the public to incidents of fraud where applicants may decide to pay cash to nefarious individuals in the hope of expediting their housing application.
The recently-launched public education campaign cautions the public about scammers with a simple sentence, "HDC does not request payment to expedite a housing application."
The corporation said the campaign is intended to educate citizens so that they are empowered to reject such activities and also report these situations to the HDC or the TT Police Service’s Fraud Squad Division.
"It is our hope, that at the end of the campaign, citizens will be aware of the correct procedure for application and processing of government-subsidised homes and will be less at risk of individuals intent on preying on their vulnerabilities."