Social housing plan on horizon

| 13/06/2014

(CNS): As a result of what is now becoming a significant problem in Cayman, government is looking at developing a social housing policy for people with no hope of buying their own home but cannot afford private sector rentals. With families living in the old affordable housing units in West Bay that have been condemned needing to be provided with new homes, government is faced with a real challenge. Most of the people living in them are not in a position to get a mortgage so government will be required to find a solution for those tenants and former owners. However, Kurt Tibbetts, the minster responsible, indicated this week that the problem is wider and Cabinet neededs to consider a social housing initiative.

In West Bay many of the 25 families living in the remaining National Housing Development Trust homes, built in 2004, will not be able to transition into the new, much more costly homes that the Trust is now going to build. Many of the tenants are already behind on their mortgages because of economic difficulties, illness or because they are elderly. Several are too old to get bigger loans to upgrade to the new houses, which are considerably less affordable.

Planning Minister Tibbetts has stated that although these old houses are condemned and will be torn down, the tenants will have to be provided with somewhere to go if they cannot qualify for a new replacement Housing Trust home.

Talking about the issues surrounding the National housing Development Trust in Finance Committee this week, Tibbetts said the biggest problem regarding the remaining old affordable homes was one of safety.

“The buildings have been condemned and an assessment is being done and we need a policy decision,” he said. “We are going to be faced with a situation where we will have to be looking at some type of social programme with regards to living quarters for some individuals,” he said, adding that everyone would like to find best solution and that he had given a commitment to the people at the site not to render them homeless.

The minister said there had been some misunderstandings about the assessments being carried out by officials from Children and Family Services. “It’s not about getting them out; it’s about the homes, but pretty soon they are going to have to be removed as the homes are in such a state of disrepair they will be forced to go,” he said and indicated that the houses were literally crumbling around the existing tenants.

He said government realized that the families could not leave the homes without having somewhere to go. “That’s the challenge government faces,” Tibbetts said. “We might not be able to deal with it all at one time and it may have to be phased, but we must get started on it.”

There are currently 32 of the original affordable homes left standing that were built in 2004 and all have been deemed unfit. He said the people living in the homes were in varying circumstances: some were owners, others were on lease to own schemes, some just renting. The minster pointed out that if there was a hurricane, every one of them would have to be moved to a shelter and those homes would be destroyed.

“Where will we put these people when the shelter closes?” he asked.

Government had to deal with the matter, he stressed, as he pointed towards a new policy dealing social housing and stated that a report was being done to see what action could be taken. He said government was giving consideration to the possibility of building multi-family dwellings but he said government had to becareful and not turn it into "something we don’t want to happen".

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is the society you build – WORKING POOR – when you encourage industries that do not pay a LIVING WAGE – the MIDDLE CLASS will pay the taxes to subsidize the WORKING POOR and the BILLIONAIR DEVELOPERS, as the BILLIONAIRS become MULTI BILLIONAIRS  and the MIDDLE CLASS – drop to the poor.

    The Cayman Islands economic modle works only for the BILLIONAIRS and their Caymanian sellout traitors!

  2. Chuck Dickens says:

    I never saw the problem with poor houses.  Cheaper to run, and discouraged over-reliance. 

    • Archie Buck Dem Up says:

      Woot woot, I smell Matilon housing schemes coming our way by way of Jamaram. Hook line and sinker.

  3. Otherview says:

    For the aged, infirmed, and unable, supply government aid and support.

    For the able bodied, create a Work Fare Program.  This would be similar to the current 

    Welfare system, however, to qualify and receive aid one would have to show up and WORK at a government created job ie. sweeping streets, crossing gaurd, security guard, public space maintenance etc. for three or four hours per day.  Also include mandatory contraception education.  As long as the enrollees pertain to the reqirements  of the program, they can maintain residence in their government supplied housing. Use this as an opportunity to teach a lost generation a work ethic, self pride, and ambition. Put entitlement to rest.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your best bet is to pay their rent until they die. It is impossible for many to ever pay off a loan or even maintain and repair  a house.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let them pay their own damn rent.  Get a job and work like everyone else. Why should the ambitious pay for the lazy.  There is a difference when you are disabled.  But not when you are young and able.  I am on the fence about some of the elderly.  It seems we encourage reckless lifestyles and spending.  So some save and invested.  While others squandered their money on nonsense, then go crawling to the government to support them.   I just don't feel that is fair or right.


      There are some very deserving people but most receiving are not.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here is an Idea. Why not build a bigger prison and just house them there?

    Free food, free medical. And the list goes on. It’s better than the projects.

    So you’re telling me that the Government can find ways to get the money needed to expand the prison, but the best they can think of in this housing situation is to build a Slum Project? Something just does not make any sense here.

    Is Cayman always going to be importing poverty? Do we really have to take on this entire burden all the time? Please Cayman, lets adjust the laws, this "Caymanian" thing has gone too far. Most of the persons that are being a burden to the country are not even "Caymanians"; even the prisoners are not from here. 

    Anyone that is married to Caymanian, or has status should have to prove that they can maintain themselves or be maintained by the spouse. I am sick and tired of these people declaring that they are Caymanian and half of them cannot even speak English properly. And for the record, patoi is not English as well. And calling someone sweetie does not make you Caymanian. What happened to enforcing the English laws? It is proper to have someone on a work permit having to speak English, but if the person conveniently marries, they are exempt from the English’s laws and an employer is forced to hire them? So does this mean the married person should not have to communicate with 911? Since that is always the excuse / reason as to why a work permit person need to be able to speak English. But that is another thing for another day.

    If Project / Slum type housing plans will be considered, please just build it right next to the prison. The government has no pride to think of building this type of facilities and the foreigners wanting it have no shame to be a burden to the country.

    Consider yes to build some half decent homes, but let them be for the real Caymanians first. Then we can offer to assist the others with a little hand-out for a while.

    One day we need to elect persons to run the country, and also elect persons that can be representatives of the people. This way there are less conflicts and the country can be run properly without having to have politicians worry about doing this type of projects to house the few voters that can add up to make a win.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Please ensure this future hot bed of crime is not near houses I own.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Brac would seem the ideal place for social housing.  First it would dissuade people from seeking to live in the social housing,  Second workshy scroungers who live off the state will feel at home there. 

  8. Otherview says:

    This will only promote and propagate the long standing and well know (and taught to relatives and passed down through generations) SCAM of gaining entry to these isles, working hard for 

    several…..previously 7 years, now 9 years, and the gaining residency, then work a few more years, but not as hard, and then be granted status………then the scam begins……return to yyour home of birth, repatriate all your savings from the years of working hard in Cayman….open a business or build a home for family, or a rental property….THEN…..reenter Cayman easily as a status holder and……….claim you are broke and can't find a job…..HELLO GOVERNMENT AID FOR LIFE!!!…Yipeee!!!….early retirement…..THE SCAM WORKED !!!

    Sorry for out n' ya'all…………….

    • Castor says:

      How amazingly ignorant!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow!  I never thought of that, but that's exactly what I'm going to do!  Since I have PR, the first thing I'll do is stop working so hard.  And why should I wait to start repatriating all of my assets?  I'll start tomorrow.   Once I get status, I'll go home, spend all of my money on can't-fail investments like businesses and rental property, and then come back here and join the gravy train with the rest of you Caymanians. Can I please get a Cayman Development Bank loan for my new business here? Yippe!  All my troubles are solved. Thanks for the tip idiot!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Do you know what they call social housing in the United States ” the projects “. This is the beginning of the end.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but let us refrain from adopting a "Cayman" Compass mentality here and broaden our thinking and awareness to beyond that of the sorry confines of the United States ( whose track record when it comes to providing for its own people speaks for itself). Civilised countries have been providing decent public housing for decades. Please do some research on public housing initiatives beyond that of a country that provides no health care for a third of its population.

      • Diogenes says:

        Like the wonderful examples provided by the sinkhole estates in France and the UK, for example?

        • Anonymous says:

          I don't think you could build in a sinkhole in Cayman.  It would flood to easily.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how many answers politicians seem to have to all our problems until they are elected and then they have no answers.  Why is government building elaborate homes for people who can;t even afford the maintenance on them?  Build something small, simple and within their means for about $30,000.  The house and the small parcel of land should cost no more than $50,000.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you think these homes are elaborate you obviously haven't seen them or need therapy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good old common-sense is workable.   Who is going to bat first?  Come on PPM.   Low cost housing means exactly that. Four sides, windows, roof, then part it up with Sheetrock or cement board.  That better than no house at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      and not blow away in a hurricane

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Ignoramus b/k/a 10:17

      Politicians and the local church are supposed to solve these kinds of social problems!
      I take it you are s booshy uppity Caymanian crab or a snobbish overprivileged expat!
      turning up your nose at needy people . Someone must reach out to poor people when they need our help.

      It’ people like you that causes these kinds of socio economic problems; because you are a selfseeking insufferable inconsiderate condescending moron!
      You need to change. If there’s hope for you there’s hope for anyone else!.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why build elaborate homes for people who can't even afford to maintain them? Because nothing is too good for our voters.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can't even build a shed in cayman for 30,000 Dollars..

  11. Anonymous says:

    There are univiersities with populations twice the size of our country's that seem to be able to feed and house thousands of people without much difficulty. Surely it cannot be that hard for us to look after our own.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are correct. However, the ocupants of the housing your refer to pay quite a bit for said 'shared' housing. Plus for the food. So your comparison. So your comparison does not really make sense.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes help those that really need to be helped, but with the understanding,an effort must be made by them to help themselves. them and only them alone can stay at the residence.

    spread them out throughout the Islands and do not group them together.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If these are the places I think they are, I think it was an Italian company.  I saw them when they were being built and to say they were not fit for purpose and substandard is an understatement.  The interior (and possibly exterior for all I know) walls were like pieces of thick cardboard and the rooms were so tiny they were like large cupboards.  Trying to imagine a family with 2 or 3 small children living in them was impossible – a bit of rough play would have had holes in the walls.

    Can't Government build something akin to what the UK call Council houses that people rent for affordable amounts?  


    • Anonymous says:

      They should be small and not exactly the most comfortable. They should be basic. Why? Because if you want more, then work for it for yourself. Yes you are poor. Get another job. My mother and father worked three jobs each to make sure they provided. Unless these people are doing the same, then they should not have input on how large or luxurious the place should be. In Europe/Hong Kong/ New York, housing tends to be very small. 

      I feel if you want something. Then work for itand work very hard for it. If you can't afford to own a house, then rent. Just like everybody else. If you can't afford more children, don't have anymore. Get on birth control. Father not around. Get maintenance enforced. Still can't afford those children. Put them up for adoption and while you're at it. Get to work. How many of these people actually work? If they have a job, how many work two jobs? 

  14. Mark Hennings says:

    More money down the toilet, fix the problem get the people to work, reduce the cost if living. Come up with a new idea every decade or so, fix basic problems and many other problems fix themselves.


    • Anonymous says:

      Now, the price of power is derived from the price of the fuel and the fact Cayman is an island.  Which of these two two should CIG address – global fuel prices or the moving of Cayman towards land?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cheap housing is a very important necessity we need on island, many people are in very low paid work, thousands of people have been allowed to enter our island and take many many jobs, why? People who are very needs are arriving daily too to take whatever work they can get, someone somewhere needds to close the door on them I'm sorry, it's probably too late already but I hear local people tying they have no work, they can't get a job, is it any wonder? 

    Immigration policies in place have given the jobs to foreigners, 

    i recently went to the Bahamas for a week, nice place, great food,  every single resturaunt, bar, hotel even was full of local people working, a few Chinese but mostly Bahamians, it made me sit and think, very sad,

    I'm honestly not even sure if locals would do that kind of work to be honest though, some people are in the homeless and low wage bracket because they choose to be there I know, 



    • Anonymous says:

      Don't make me cry with your comment that the job are given to foreigner please. How many Caymanian don't want go work by Kirk or Foster? they need to hire work permit because dear Caymanian are to proud to go work there and the salary is not good enough for them. Those people living on those house in West Bay, cannot afford a rent no matter what. Did you went see those people and ask them what kind of diploma they have? What kind of job they can work? By their limited education they are obviously limited on the kind of work they can do to, have you think about this before saying foreigner are taking your job. Foreigner come here with diploma or with the high desire to work no matter where and no matter the salary. I saw a young Caymanian jobless and he refused a job because it's evening shift and it's just 6$/ hr. He prefer work day time because at night he go out with is friends. So stop complaining and really go look for a  job, 6$/h it's better than be home with nothing. Employer have to hire work permit for those 6$/Hr job.


    • Anonymous says:

      yep and it only took 4 hours to get served

  16. Knot S Smart says:

    I voted PPM but to tell the truth I dont think that they can create a 'welfare state' as quickly and as inefficient, as Mac and the UDP…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Alden, rather than spend Caymanian money on these freeloaders, get the lazy XXX to work. Oops, they may not vote for you next time around, better give them the farm, eh?

  18. Otherview says:

    As Elvis sang………" In the ghetto"……………

    • Anonymous says:

      Please broaden your thinking to beyond that of the United States, a country whose infant mortality rate is somewhere slightly above that of Haiti.

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        Complete BS.  Per UNICEF infant mortality rate for Haiti 57 per 1000 births, US 6 – completely comparable with first world international norms.  But hey, why trouble your prejudices with facts when you can just make it up.  Please broaden YOUR thinking to actually dealing with facts rather than lying your ass off.  

  19. Anonymous says:

    First there was Dog City
    then Swamp
    then Monkey Town
    then Central…
    …Now soon to be Projects
    I would like to know in who’s district
    and which neighborhood
    this fine example of government thinking will go!?

    While their at it, they can legalize prostitution and gambling… just to keep the great ideas flowing.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Most of the people living in these houses are not Caymanian Natives, they are PR residents who have gained stay here and now leaning on the government.

    I contnue to say we need to look at our own people frst.  If you work hee for 30 to 40 yars, why dont you have a home here.

    Mr Kurt an Mr Premier .take care of the people who lived here all their lives. How much longer do you think they have left foryout be helping them..  The next generaion for social servce is definately not going to be Caymans  they would have already died  off leaving nothing but the offspring of foreign natioals fo them to take cae of….

    • Anonymous says:

      And the law says no-one can get PR unless they can support themselves and their dependants and that any person with PR who is unable to support themselves is liable to have it revoked.

      • Anonymous says:

        yeah, like that is happening.  They won't revoke them.  The first thing the women do is have a bunch of children for government to support after they marry the Caymanian undesirable taht doesn't work and have drug/alcohol problems.

    • Anonymous says:

      They have no home here because they sent all their money to build a house in foreign fortheir family and then realized they could stay here and live for free.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of the people living in these houses are not Caymanian Natives, they are PR residents who have gained stay here and now leaning on the government.


      Are you really that ignorant, or are you just a troll trying to yank our chain?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Are the PPM proposing low cost high rise complexes seen in the inner city ghetto's in USA, UK and Canada? Please do not build these type of structures.

  22. MEM says:

    These houses were horrible from the beginning, any Government in their right minds would not have botther to waste money or raise people's hopes of home ownership with such horrid accommodations! I've been inside of one once when they were freshly accommodated at the Windsor Park location (before they had to tear those down!) and the walls were so thin that the light switch boxes and outlets stuck out probably more than an inch from the wall!!! This is what Big Mac felt his loyal constituents were worth I guess…

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting you should mention the electrics. While many appreciate that the Italians build the most beautiful cars in the world not too many know the real reason for the second seat in those fancy cars is for an electrician! Italians and electricity don't go together, no way.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I just watched the "Happy "documentary on Netflix.  One segment of it was about cohousing in Denmark. Honestly, I was very impressed.

    Cohousing provides solutions for many of contemporary society’s challenges. 

  24. Anonymous says:

    Social housing is an issue around the world and never an easy fix, if you make the proposal too attractive you get marginal cases choosing this accomodation over those that have no choice and those that make sure they qualify if it's seen as a good deal.

    The simple solution is to make sure everyone can afford basic accomodation, I say simple with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

    This issue will likely get worse before it gets better, consider that having a pension wasn't mandatory until about the year 2000 and those that could least afford it have been dodging the contributions for longer, some have managed to have nothing in the pot and those that have been paying the minimum for 15/20 years will not have enough to pay the bills when they do retire.  I would guestimate that unless you are paying in contributions at an accelarated rate for 25-35 years most won't have enough to live comfortably on.

    I would propose some sort of fractional ownership with Government and tennat, each with a stake in the accomodation, based on an affordability test and each with a stake in the basic maintenance costs, possibly an annual review of the affordability?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the welfare state that McKeeva et al built. I advocate housing for the chronically ill, indigent an abandoned elderly. Otherwise social housing becomes slums for those who can’t be bothered to work. Our social experiments have been wildly successful thus far right?

    • Anonymous says:

      We already have one.

      its called  Cayman Brac.

      why doesn't we just ship them all there then we just need one place to deal with them

  26. Anonymous says:

    Would it not be cheaper to just enforce the Immigration Law in relation to a significant number of persons, and stop importing poverty, something we continue to do daily? 

    I have no issue with taking care of our own but we sure seem to have a lot of people from elsewhere competng for limited resources. 


    • Far Canal says:

      Rearrange these words:  Stable door, horse, the, shutting, the, bolted, after, has.

    • Anonymous says:

      They our your own now. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Jesus loved everyone. You should too. It really works! 

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh, I love everyone, especially my family and community whose economic security is being destroyed by an influx of outsiders whose right to be here is too often based on lies to immigration or incompetence and corruption.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite agreed. There are an awful lot of foreign accents amongst the recipients of these homes that are being provided at the expense of the Caymanian people. Since the immigration law generally makes it illegal for any person unable to sustain themselves and their dependents to even come here, what is going on?

      • Anonymous says:

        I am an expat, not a cayman person, and I think I should be mentioned as much if not more than cayman people for funding this. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Incompetence tainted by nepotism with a pinch of corruption. Dangerous combnation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree, maybe we should quit giving work permits to individuals past retirement age also.


  27. Anonymous says:

    CNS, can we please find a report on when and by whom these homes were built? It looks like they were substandard to begin with (perhaps even designed for temporary construction use) and that people should never have been placed in them on a permanent basis. Who was the minister responsible for this fiasco? Was it finished in an election year? Is this the 28 million dollars paid out by Government in two tranches?

    Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the first and worst will be trying to wash his sticky fingers of that one.