Housing Ministry says “Hello Neighbour”
Many citizens have entered into questionable property arrangements which oftentimes, have left them without any property and any opportunity for recouping their losses. Some citizens have even paid sums of money in an effort to advance their HDC application while some citizens have begun building their dream homes without adhering to the mandatory processes involved. These factors and many others, influenced the conceptualisation of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Awareness and Education Campaign which aims to educate and empower citizens so that they can make more informed and confident decisions regarding their shelter.
The Ministry understands that despite its best efforts it will never be able to provide affordable housing solutions for all those desirous of accessing public housing on the Ministry’s housing application database. This multi-media programme, aptly titled Hello Neighbour is therefore dual-pronged. On one hand, it intends to provide citizens with the necessary information if they wish to access public housing, the steps involved for the purchase of homes on the open market and the processes and steps if they opt to construct their own homes. On the other hand, it is hoped that through the use of print and radio ads, newspaper inserts, posters, brochures and social media, this campaign will demystify the role of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and position the state entity as a responsible and caring organisation. Through this campaign, citizens will also learn more about the Ministry’s other services such as the Home Improvement Grant, Emergency Shelter Relief Grant and the Government’s Aided Self-Help Housing Programme.
In commenting on the launch of this programme, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Randall Mitchell indicated that “the Ministry felt that it was important to educate our citizens, so they can be empowered to make responsible, well guided decisions, with respect to this vitally important commodity, called shelter. All of our citizens, particularly the low and lower middle income earners should be able to enjoy seamless financial and legal transactions regarding property matters. This campaign therefore is geared towards letting the public know that they are not alone and we at the Ministry are here to look after their best interests.”
This three month campaign is a precursor to the Ministry’s Housing Manual, H101, which is intended to be the “go-to” information source for all matters leading to home ownership, post ownership and everything in between. This manual will be available in both print (hard copy) and digital formats.
The “Hello Neighbour” campaign was finalised through support from the Sectoral and Institutional Strengthening Component of an Inter-American Development Bank Loan Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GoRTT). The Component contributes to strengthening the policy formulation and implementation capacity of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and its agencies.