Much needed affordable homes are taking shape at East End with last week’s ground-breaking of the third phase of the Government’s Affordable Homes project in that district. At the end of November, Housing Minister Dwayne Seymour joined the National Housing Development Trust Board Chairman George Powell and Vincent Frederick, Director/Chairman for Project Committee, along with Government Councillor Capt. Eugene Ebanks, MLA Christopher Saunders and Leader of the Opposition Arden McLean, in helping to get the ball rolling on this important construction project.
The National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) began in 2003 and is a not-for-profit company run by the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, established with the aim of constructing houses in planned communities and facilitating affordable home ownership for Caymanians. The NHDT’s remit is broad and includes assisting in providing people with housing accommodations and providing facilities and amenities, as well as loans, advances, and guarantees for housing opportunities. The NHDT also assists pre-selected applicants with seeking mortgage financing through various local banks, thereby easing this often-burdensome task for some people.
Not only resulting in affordable housing for Caymanians in need, it is intended that this latest project will help support the island’s economic recovery by creating employment in the housing and construction sectors. The CI$750k initiative will cover construction of the first seven set of the affordable houses for phase three of the project that is scheduled to begin in mid-December. An additional 14 houses will also to be started within the first quarter of 2021.
At the ground breaking, Minister Seymour justified the importance of such a project for the community.
“A country in which only a few can afford housing is not just or sustainable. Everyone deserves a safe place to live, for their children to play, to feel the comfort of home. We know a home can transform the quality of life for individuals and families,” he stated. “However, we know that even today there is a major housing crisis in many places around the world. We continue to fight this major challenge together and to help provide safe and adequate housing for our people.”
Minister Seymour went on to address the steep cost of living in the Cayman Islands and to thank the NHDT for their hard-work and diligence in bringing the community to this point.
Julio Ramos, NHDT General Manager, said: “It was a pleasure to be joined by the Minister, MLAs and other distinguished guests for this event. As noted by the Minister, it is our mission at NHDT to not only build homes but to build a society where young Caymanians can grow up knowing that there will be land, homes, a place of shelter that they can afford and live happy and productive lives.”
Massive projects like these require a multi-stakeholder approach in order to address the needs of all involved, comprising of government, the private sector and the community. Communities develop only when the needs of all residents are met. Ensuring affordable homes is a critical step in that direction, and the Ministry assured the public they would continue working to this end.