(DPI) Twenty families who once squatted on private property at Broad and Lombard Streets are now homeowners.
The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) and Food for the Poor today handed over the keys to the new homes in the Prospect Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara.
Many of the beneficiaries, who also have titles to the lands the homes were built on expressed excitement over owning their own home.
“Today is a beautiful day for me. I was just anxious that I would finally be getting a house because my house burnt down in the last fire. So, I just thankful that I got a new one and land, it is looking good, and I am feeling good”, Onica Brammer said.
Melissa Abrams echoed those sentiments. “I am feeling so happy, words cannot express how I feel today knowing I own my own home,” the young woman said.
Phillip Chase, who lived at the Lombard Street location for over 30 years said he was happy he was no longer there.
“I am now a resident of Prospect,” he declared. “Receiving this key today, I am very joyful. Even my children were excited to come but I told them they had to go to school. I have my own key and this is where I am at right now.”
Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Annette Ferguson said that the government was keeping its promise to the residents.
“Your government did not neglect you. We stepped in at the appropriate time to render the much-needed assistance which you require. Your government believes in families being together. That is why all other agencies, apart from CHPA played a role in working with you over the past three years.”
Also present at the handing over ceremony was Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture Valerie Adams-Yearwood who was instrumental in the initial stages of the project. Minister Adams-Yearwood said she was happy to see the first phase of the project completed for a group of people who thought all hope was lost.
“When you have a people, who cannot help themselves but they have the will, they needed a government with a heart, a government who has the compassion to bring their people out of that kind of despair,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of Food for the Poor Kent Vincent said the project – a first-time collaboration with CH&PA – would have a positive impact on the lives of the new homeowners.
The houses are outfitted with some basic amenities, including beds, chairs, tables, toilets, solar panels, electricity, and potable water. An $8.5Million playground was also commissioned in the community.
Another 31 homes are slated to be constructed at Cummings Lodge shortly. The decision to relocate the informal settlers from the Broad and Lombard Street property was due to the legal action taken by the landowner and a High Court decision.