February 11, marked the dawn of a new era in the lives of several contributors of the National Housing Trust (NHT) who are now landowners having received their letters of possession at a handing over ceremony of seventy serviced lots at Windcrest Hills, Hellshire, St. Catherine.
Acknowledging the importance of housing to the well-being of individuals, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in delivering his keynote address, assured that his administration continues to prioritise the provision of accessible and affordable housing.
“The NHT has recorded impressive levels of housing starts and housing completions delivered to the market. It has also improved several communities occupied by contributors while strengthening its approach to addressing the needs of low-income earners,” said Mr. Holness.
He also advised that during the 2019/2020 financial year, $40 billion was spent on the provision of housing, which was the highest expenditure in the NHT's 44-year history.
Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Pearnel Charles Jr. indicated that a principal focus of the Ministry was ensuring that the country’s housing policy is comprehensive and inclusive, noting that the policy would contribute to a more sustainable and resilient Jamaica.
For his part, Lennox Channer, Chairman of the NHT highlighted that the organisation continues to prioritise the construction of quality and affordable housing solutions.
“In our four-year housing programme, the NHT set out to achieve, at minimum, 23,000 housing starts by the end of the 2020/2021 financial year. Now in the final phase of the programme, we remain on target, as the NHT recorded 18, 929 housing starts at the end of the 2019/2020 fiscal year. By prioritizing construction of units, the Trust increased the proportion of total assets invested in housing from 84% in 2016 to 91% at the end of March 2020,” added Mr. Channer.
In a poignant expression of gratitude, Troy Smith, newly minted landowner, thanked the NHT for granting himself and fellow community members an opportunity to own ‘a piece of Jamaica’.
“Because of this organisation, persons with a disability, like me, can look forward to homeownership,” said an elated Troy.
These serviced lots form part of ninety-two (92) service lots, twenty-two (22) of which were handed over in 2019.
Since inception, the NHT has contributed to approximately 37,583 housing solutions in St. Catherine. The NHT’s current housing plan for the parish of St. Catherine includes five (5) additional schemes to complement previous housing developments. These five (5) developments will bring to the market a further four thousand & ninety-four (4,094) housing solutions.
Windcrest Hills is situated on 15.07 acres of land in Hellshire, approximately 10 km south-east of the Portmore Town Centre.