The National Housing Corporation (NHC) has expressed concern about a lack of affordable housing in Saint Lucia.
Corporation Chairman, Timothy Mangal, told a recent meeting with local contractors and other stakeholders in the housing sector that for the past ten years there has been no major housing development here, whether in the public or private sectors.
Mangal explained that as a result, there has been an accumulation of the need for affordable homes.
“The latest statistics presented by the Ministry of Housing I was told, put it in the region of 11 to 14,000 homes required for Saint Lucians,” the NHC Chairman told the gathering.
Housing Minister, Guy Joseph, who also addressed the meeting, observed that there is a direct link between the living conditions of people and their general behavior and outlook in life.
“So we are trying to solve all the crime problems by having more policemen, more vehicles for the police, more law enforcement, but we are not addressing the core social problems that are affecting people’s outlook of life in general. And we know that housing, or shelter is a basic requirement for life,” Joseph declared.
At the meeting, the government unveiled plans for several housing developments around the island.
According to organisers, the purpose was to express an interest by the NHC to develop housing sites across the island and increase the housing stock in Saint Lucia.
In addition to contractors, representatives of financial institutions, suppliers and other key housing partners were in attendance.
They were informed of the government’s policy position of entering into Public Private Partnerships with local contractors for the development of lands in an effort to address the housing shortage and needs of the country.
Government has said that it will partner with local developers by providing the land, construction guidance and various incentives to help ensure successful delivery of the developments.
The Government has identified several areas which are ‘development ready’ communities, including Choc, La Clery, Rock Hall, Talvern, Belair, Bois Jolie in Dennery, Anse Ger in Micoud, La Resource, Vieux Fort, River Doree in Choiseul and Canaries.
Guy Joseph, who is also Minister for Economic Development, explained that some of the developments are going to give young people an opportunity to own basic ‘starter homes.’