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Housing Agency to provide 24 subsidised houses for low-income earners Loop Jamaica

Black Immigrant Daily News

The Housing Agency of Jamaica Ltd. (HAJ) has joined forces with several entities to spearhead the construction of 24 new houses in St Paul’s Lane, Tower Hill, St Andrew.

This housing development in the Western Central Constituency of St Andrew will cast four two-storey apartment blocks comprising 16 units, along with four two-storey townhouse duplex blocks comprising eight units on approximately 3,823 sq. of land.

“The HAJ was first introduced to this project in 2017 by the then Minister of Housing, Dr Horace Chang. Since then, the scope of the project has varied but the drive for the development of St. Paul’s Lane has remained unchanged. Now, we are preparing to break ground on the construction of 24 affordable housing solutions, financed by the National Housing Trust (NHT). With the support of the Member of Parliament, our most Honourable Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, the plan for St Paul’s Lane has not faded,” shared Chairman of the HAJ, Norman Brown.

(Left) Acting Managing Director of the HAJ, Doreen Prendergast and Chairman of the HAJ, Norman Brown (right) had a moment with Bishop Conrad Pitkin at the recently held community meeting to discuss the new housing development in St Paul’s Lane.

Prime Minister Holness, also commended the HAJ on their internal growth and development which has transcended to increase their effectiveness in providing safe, affordable, legal housing to the Jamaican people.

“The board of directors and the executive management of HAJ has ensured that this agency meets its mandate, which aside from providing affordable housing, is to manage the process of the regularization of irregular settlements, oversee relocation, where necessary, and to address communities like St Paul’s Lane, that have overtime mushroomed. So, I want to commend the board and executive management for their proper running of the institution, for fulfilling the mandate and in that fulfilment of their good mandate, now assisting in making the lives of the people of St. Paul’s Lane better,” said Holness.

Holness further went on to affirm, “This will be one of the first projects being done in this administration and the intention is to use this as a model to move more quickly in dealing with the other communities like St. Paul’s Lane, right across Jamaica.”

Ashtrom Building Systems Ltd. has been engaged to undertake the construction works. The team will first decant approximately 0.5 acres of land at the front of the community to make way for the construction of the housing units, thereby demolishing the existing structures. After the completion of the decanting exercise, Ashtrom will then move in to construct the first stage of the housing units and related infrastructure.

Eight buildings comprising 24 housing units will be developed as follows: Four two-storey apartment blocks with four apartment units per block, consisting of two bedrooms, one-bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room per unit. This structure will account for 16 units at 494 sq. ft per unit; Four two-storey townhouse duplex blocks with two 2-storey townhouse duplex units, consisting of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room per unit, totalling 8 units at 968 sq. ft per unit.

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The HAJ, as project manager, will oversee construction, as well as the monitoring and management of the day-to-day operations.

The agency will work in tandem with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), its parent ministry, whereas the land is vested in the name of the Minister of Housing and is declared under the Housing Act. The National Housing Trust (NHT), has provided project financing to undertake the works.

The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) will undertake works on the social amenities including The Tower Hill Intergenerational Centre Construction and St Paul’s Basic School Safe Passage. The National Water Commission (NWC) will provide a potable water supply and a central sewage system connection for the development.

Not only is the Agency focused on developing St. Pauls’ Lane by virtue of a multi-agency approach, but keen attention will also be placed on infrastructural improvements for the remainder of the community. “While the construction will be executed along the western boundary of St Paul’s Anglican Church, the improvement of the whole community is important to us. With that being said, the immediate plan is to also regularize the physical infrastructure through improved roadways, water supply, zinc fence removal, sewer installations and electricity,” declared Managing Director of the HAJ, Doreen Prendergast