HOUSING Development Corporation (HDC) managing director Brent Lyons said the Pioneer Drive project in Mt Hope, to be built under the Small and Medium Contractors (SMC) Housing Initiative, will allow low-income earners to access affordable housing opportunities. A sod-turning ceremony for the project took place earlier in the week.
Each of the 12 units will consist of a two-story townhouse with three bedrooms and two and a half baths, split between a two-unit block, a four-unit block and a six-block unit. The HDC said each unit will cost less than $500,000 to construct.
Lyons said the HDC launched the SMC to give small and medium-sized builders in the respective communities the opportunity to construct basic three bedroom/two bathroom housing units on serviced lots, either on vacant lots in existing housing developments or on available Government land developments, using drawings and specifications produced by the HDC.
He said the HDC expects to be able to mobilise significant spare capacity in the construction sector, stimulate economic activity and create jobs, while at the same time meaningfully addressing the high demand for housing.
St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh said the prices of the units, which will range between $250,000 and $500,000, will allow lower middle-income earners such as cleaners, fast food workers, clerical officers or even the young self-employed earner to access housing in the area.
Housing Minister Edmund Dillion said it costs the HDC almost $1 million to build a house, which many applicants for housing solutions cannot afford. He said the HDC had been adjusting and repositioning itself to better serve the needs of its clientele, particularly the 83 per cent who earn less than $9,000 monthly.
He said these factors contributed to the development of the Small and Medium Contractors Housing Construction Initiative. He said the project also fulfils the mandate of his ministry which is required to bring relief to the approximately 186,000 applicants on their housing database.
The HDC also distributed 110 packages to homeowners on Tuesday. Due to public health regulations, only 20 homeowners attended the ceremony at the Mt Lambert/Mt Hope Community Centre, with the remaining 90 collecting their packages at the HDC’s Port of Spain offices.
The new homeowners would be moving into three housing developments. These were Mahogany Court on the Eastern Main Road in Mt Hope; Nepuyo Court on Henry Peters Road, Malabar, Arima; and Trestrail Lands (Phase 2) off Arima Old Road, D’Abadie.
Deyalsingh urged the new homeowners not to isolate themselves, but to become part of and help to build their new communities.