Housing trust can’t help new families in need

| 08/04/2013

home-300x226.jpg(CNS): Although 94 new homes were built during the last administration, few new local families were helped because most of the properties are going to tenants from the original initiative since the old homes have been declared unsafe. The legal department ruled that the National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) must allocate new houses to the old Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) clients, so the goal to help new families buy a home has not been achieved, despite claims of success by the former UDP government. The cost of the new concrete houses is also presenting a problem as they are no longer all that affordable and the investment of public cash in the project has done little to resolve the living conditions of many local families in need.

In a statement released by the board Friday, Deputy Chairman Allan Bush set out the dilemma faced by the Trust and said that the NHDT is reliant on government for viable solutions and ways to address the situation the Trust now faces, given that in the current circumstances it cannot fulfil its mandate.

The NHDT is faced with a number of barriers to provide affordable homes for those at the bottom of Cayman’s socio-economic pile. The main problem, however, is that a local engineer’s report found that the properties built during the previous UDP administration between 2001 and 2005 were not safe and presented a potential liability to both the NHDT and central government. This means that the Trust has had to re-house many of the original tenants in the new homes at the same price as the client’s original houses, even though they are worth considerably more, causing a loss to the Trust.

With only enough money to build 94 new houses, based on the funds that were made available, transitioning the 107 AHI clients into the new homes and presenting housing opportunities to new applicants has been impossible, the Trust said.

Six clients have been found to earn over the CI$3,000 limit in income and, as a result, the board issued a notice to terminate those owners' agreements as they earn sufficient income to price them out of the initiative. Three more other clients have breached the initial AHI agreement as, despite being employed, they have not maintained their monthly commitments for a substantial period or they have sublet their homes without notifying the NHDT.

However, the trust is continuing to house the elderly and indigent who simply cannot afford to maintain their commitment, as well as those who have been unemployed for a substantial period and are being subsidised by the Department of Children and Family Services.

“The NHDT has issued no termination notices to individuals that cannot survive out of the AHI program,” the Trust confirmed.

Given the current situation, the Trust’s goal to help more of those who are the poorest in the community to own their own home is becoming increasingly elusive, despite the investment made.

A spokesperson for the NHDT also confirmed Friday the situation regarding the completed but empty new homes in West Bay. He said that in some cases the Trust is simply waiting on the planning authorities to issue occupancy certificates but in the case of two of the homes there is an on-going legal dispute regarding a boundary on the properties which has not yet been resolved.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Should have finished the high school in west bay instead of this! Shameful.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can we please, just this once, name say the top 5 people responsible for crapping away the money on the first crap houses and HOLD them responsible!? I am freaking dying here paying 9 grand for a permit! Just this one time, hold somebody responsible! Then we can all carry on the old way and piss away my money again. Thank you.

  3. MEM says:

    The first set of homes had walls so thin that the electrical outlets could not even fit in all the way!Most blew over like dominoes during ivan (in fact an entire community of those homes was wiped out. Now they were probably better than whatever some of those families were living in before, but in a country like Cayman the least we can do if we are trying to offer less fortunate families somewhere to live is to provide them with somewhere decent.

  4. Socialism at its Finest says:

    As Margaret Thatcher once said, socialism can't work because sooner or later you run out of other people's money. Rewarding those who do not produce at the expense of those who do is doomed to failure. The above article is the perfect illustration of this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Margaret Thatcher ?  Come up with somebody with more authority.

      She gave dictator Pinochet a safe home in England. That's how you loose all credibility.

      The job of the rich is to help the poor. YOU have to understand that not everybody can be a millionaire.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who told you that the job of the rich is to help the poor? If you are a wealthy philanthropist, perhaps you would see that as one of your civil duties. At the end of the day, the only entity who is responsible for helping or taking care of any poor citizens is the government of their own country. It is most certainly not the responsibility of wealthy citizens. And you question Thatcher's authority? Shows how much you know. 

      • Anonymous says:

        21;04. Pinochet was a nasty character, true. But he was an ally of the UK at a point in time for a particular specific purpose so Thatcher acknowledged that. I did not like it either. Alas, that is the way "real politics" works. Do you remember when the very leftwing Robin Cook took over as Foreign Secretary in Bliars (sic) government and he declared that from henceforth there was to be only "ethical foreign policy"? No British made arms to nasty countries etc? Until his Labour voters put him straight about the jobs they would lose  and then we were flogging them just as happily as before. There is much I could say about your comment "the job of the rich is to help the poor" but it is such an extraordinary statement that I choose to just leave it untouched.

        Gordon Bennett

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well this is amusing. How were the previous homes built and confirmed for occupancy? Wouldn't Planning have reviewed these homes and deemed them fit for occupancy? Those of us who I have built homes have gone through this with them.

    As to the homes no longer being affordable, wouldn't this have been an assessment made prior to the construction? Or is this a case like Turtle Farm or Planning driving the costs up with additional requirements?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Have they considered constructing apartments verses houses?  This may save on costs as there is less land costs to cover for families.  Also too many persons who are able to work are being babied by social services.  This support is very costly and not needed.  More push needs to be input to encourage young people to go out and work.  Girls can work who have kids and guys need to put down the smokes and drinks and do something!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Go earn your house. Nothing should just be ” given” to people. This is what is wrong with the newer generation. No one earns anything , it’s all handed to them. No sense of pride.

    • Anonymous says:

      The most affordable house is probably around 150k, which means that you need to come up with 30k to get a mortgage.

      Most people can't make that.

      The same people pay 1300 rent a month, while their mortgage would be 900.

      Banks are the problem here and the lack of interest of the politicians to get THEIR people in their own homes.

      It has nothing to do with "earning" a house.


      • Anonymous says:

        You may not be able to earn enough to buy a house right away, but it should be the responsibility of these people to get up, get active and find employment. If everything is given to you, you will never learn the value of what you have. Easy come, easy go. And then the default stance is to blame everything on other people – the government, your MLA, what have you. Be active, be a responsible citizen, stop having children you can neither afford nor take care of and make a life for yourself. Not everyone may have the same level of success at this, but everyone should be forced to at least try. Nothing in this life comes for free, and many of the people who live in these housing schemes need to be taught this lesson. There is always something you can do to better your circumstances, you simply need to make the effort. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    The only thing the NHDT can do now is hold more meetings. Are the board members still getting $500 per meeting?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Please tell us what is unsafe about the first set of houses.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So the ones that have gone out and better themselves to earn more than the $3000 a month will be tossed out, but the lazy ones that are still under social services care will be rewarded with a new home, smart move FAB5 show's just how to reward someone who works to improve their life. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    Homes were found to be unsafe?   Why wasn't this discovered during construction?   Why don't we have a 'beneficial occupancy' final inspection to discover deficiencies prior to occupancy? 


    It doesn't seem as though any part of this program worked as it was proposed.