Two elderly indigent men in St. Ann are now living in comfort, after two fully furnished houses were officially handed over to them by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, on Friday (January 4).
This was done under the Government’s Indigent Housing Programme.
The two studio units, which consist of a bedroom, bathroom and a kitchen area, were constructed in the communities of Lime Hall and Mile End in St. Ann, at a combined cost of $4 million.
Each house has been outfitted with a bed, refrigerator, stove, kitchen utensils, dining table, chest of drawers and other household items.
The houses were built during November, as part of Local Government Month activities, as the senior citizens, aged 91 and 75 years, were living in less than ideal conditions.
The Poor Relief Department will be responsible for the continued care of the men.
In his address at the ceremony in Lime Hall, St. Ann, the Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to protecting the poor and vulnerable in Jamaica, pointing out that enhancing the lives of those in need will continue to be a priority.
He said that the housing units being constructed islandwide will promote modernity, as the Government moves away from constructing the traditional wooden structures for indigent persons.
The Minister pointed out that eight more houses are to be constructed, two each in St. Thomas, West Rural St. Andrew, Trelawny and Westmoreland.
In the meantime, Mr. McKenzie said local government is pivotal to the development of Jamaica, noting that it is “the heartbeat of the country’s survival.”
“So, when we speak about the role of local government, let me again remind those persons who feel that there is no need for it, that 85 percent of the country’s survival is vested in local government. We clear garbage, we fix parochial roads, we run markets, we run abattoirs, we deal with building plans, and we deal with hair dressers and barbers,” the Minister outlined.
For his part, Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay and Chairman of the St. Ann Municipal Corporation, Councillor Michael Belnavis, expressed gratitude to the Ministry for its continued effort to improve the living conditions of the poor in St. Ann.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Gladstone Taylor, who is the recipient of the house in Lime Hall, said he is very grateful for the unit.
“I have to give thanks and praises to the Ministry of Local Government. I could not afford a house like this, so I have to give thanks to them,” he said.