Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, today (November 1), handed over keys to residents of 194 Bay Farm Road in St. Andrew who were dislocated after a fire destroyed their home earlier this year.
A one-year-old boy died in the fire.
The five-bedroom structure was reconstructed under the housing component of Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme.
In his address, the Prime Minister said close to $1 billion has been allocated in the budget to accelerate the provision of shelter under the HOPE programme.
“It is distributed islandwide and each Member of Parliament has been given five housing solutions. So, based on their demand and in consultation with the HOPE Secretariat, they can decide on five housing problems they need to solve per year and they can use the resources, So, it’s designed to deal with situations like these… and to improve the housing stock,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the needs may vary, based on the circumstances of the individuals and the communities in which they reside.
“What we are doing is to make sure that we get to those who are urgently in need, that we deal with those who are vulnerable and we deal with those that are most affected, particularly families with many young children or with many elderly. That is the idea of the housing aspect of the HOPE programme,” he explained.
Mr. Holness argued that the HOPE programme is working and is giving Jamaicans hope.
“The employment component is creating an apprenticeship modality, which would have served over 20,000 youngsters by now. The housing aspect of it – we have just started; the opportunities aspect – we are working to roll that out, and the production aspect will be rolled out soon,” he shared.
Presenting the keys for the new home, the Prime Minister said: “We are giving you hope and opportunity that your entire family can recover and make use of the facilities.”
The Prime Minister said solar lamps will be distributed to the family to minimise the use of open-flame sources for lighting at the home.
“You could be a very good ambassador, a very good messenger to other mothers, other grandmothers and caregivers who have housing conditions similar to this to say, listen you can’t light matches and candles in these houses; get solar lamps,” he said.
National Programme Director for Social Housing, HOPE, Danville Walker, informed that the structure took about four months to be rebuilt.
“There are a few things left to be done, but we can do that while you are here,” he said.
Member of Parliament for Western St. Andrew, Anthony Hylton, thanked the Government for assisting the family to recover from the tragedy.
“I am particularly pleased to have you on this occasion, because it represents, in a real sense, hope and for the family some renewal. Four months ago, this was a scene of tragedy; today it’s a scene of celebration,” he said.
Expressing gratitude for the help, Ms. Hermine Tennant, thanked all the stakeholders for “putting back a roof over mi head”.
Another resident, Cassandra Brown, whose son perished in the fire, said although it was a sad occasion, she is still giving thanks.
“Only sad thing about it is mi son, but I feel good because out a road and don’t have no roof, it don’t make no sense. I feel good seh wi have a roof over wi head,” she shared.
The HOPE programme falls under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
The programme provides educational and job opportunities for persons 18 to 24 years of age who are not employed or enrolled in a school or programme of training.
Source: JIS News