True to its campaign mantra “Putting People First”, the administration of the Labor Party of Saint Lucia (SLP) has established a National Housing Assistance Program (NHAP) aimed at helping the poorest people in the country. the society.
Hundreds of St Lucians are online to benefit from a major component of the government’s socio-economic program for the country. The program aims to ensure that low-income people and the most vulnerable in the population have access to adequate housing.
In particular, the NHAP will identify and create an inventory of households with the most urgent housing needs, assess their priority, design appropriate assistance packages and disburse them in the form of technical assistance, building materials and / or grants. labor.
Prime Minister Philip Pierre was in “good spirits” when he told the assembly that the NHAP was part of the SLP administration’s assurance to put people first.
âPutting people first is not a slogan. It is a philosophy; it’s a way of life, âPrime Minister Pierre said as he addressed a crowd of government ministers and other officials at the launch on Wednesday. The $ 10 million NHAP project is funded by the Republic of China (Taiwan).
âIt’s not something we said to win an election. We really think so, and in the projects that we are going to deliver to the people of Saint Lucia, the whole ethic and philosophy of putting people first will be clear, âhe added.
The Prime Minister noted that while economic numbers and infrastructure are essential components of the nation’s socio-economic development, the depth of government policies will put people, which includes everyone, first.
Noting that now is the time for his administration to put his plans in motion, since the elections are over, Pierre reiterated: âWe will include everyone.
He urged citizens to come together for the good of the country and its people, under the umbrella of doing better for Saint Lucia.
Pierre said the NHAP initiative was not only geared towards providing affordable housing for the needy and poor, but also addressing other ânecessaryâ things.
“It took the cabinet through the minister to convince Taiwanese and other officials that a more immediate need was to repair people’s homes in this country,” the finance minister said.
The Ministry of Housing and Local Authorities will be responsible for implementing the initiative, which focuses on assisting disadvantaged people by improving their living conditions.
While praising the project, Housing Minister Richard Frederick said it was imperative for the government to commit to providing affordable housing to disadvantaged people.
âThis government is committed to ensuring that access to affordable housing is a basic need of all citizens, but it recognizes that housing interventions in the past have not addressed the housing problems of people. poor and needy, âsaid Frederick.
“The importance of housing for humans remains an indisputable fact that housing comes after food,” added the Minister of Housing.
According to Frederick, at least 20% of the population of Saint Lucia live in squalid conditions that include lack of sewage and running water facilities. He added that people also continued to live in overcrowded houses and broken buildings.
âThose who ask for help must meet a list of criteria,â he explained. âHouseholds living in inhumane conditions, low-income households, people affected by natural and artisanal disasters and the elderly. “
Frederick adds that the program will also benefit “those who belong to the poverty group, the homeless and those who are disabled with such a disability preventing them from entering the workforce.”
However, the minister noted, squatters occupying land will need to obtain permission from the respective owners to benefit from housing assistance programs.
Social Equity Minister Joachim Henry said the program will work in tandem with other initiatives under the ministry’s purview.
“I can speak to the growing number of people coming to the ministry for help of all kindsâ¦ and the growing range of needs expressed, including housing, so urgent responses are timely and needed immediately.” , did he declare.
Housing Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Cadelia Ambroise said the government has reached a stage where it needs to provide housing assistance to the poor and disadvantaged in the country. And, she added, the ministry has been inundated with requests from people seeking housing assistance.
âActivities under the NHAP are structured for implementation as follows: identification and creation of an inventory of households with the most urgent housing needs; evaluation and classification of this emergency investigation; the design of aid packages best suited to housing needs or to identified households, âexplained Ambroise.
She added that the housing assistance project would also provide “the disbursement of assistance programs in the form of technical assistance, building materials and / or labor subsidies, as well as monitoring and ‘program evaluation’.