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Thousands apply for an opportunity to purchase subsidised land

Thousands of citizens flocked to the Couva Village Plaza on Friday January 12, in an effort to submit an application for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s Aided Self-Help Housing Programme.  Some arrived to the venue from as early as 5:00 am for an opportunity to receive one of the one thousand available lots for this inaugural distribution. A preliminary count of all submitted applications revealed that as at January 15, approximately 4950 completed applications were received and validated for the programme.

The Aided Self-Help Housing Programme, which was officially launched on November 10 2017, is a new initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development that targets low and middle-income earners. Also called “Aided Self-Help”, this programme aims to empower ordinary citizens so that they can manage the construction of their own homes with financial and technical support from the state. Through this strategy, one thousand fully developed housing lots will be sold at thirty (30%) percent of its market value. Successful applicants will have access to subsidised mortgage facilities from the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company (TTMF), pre-approved house plans, and oversight assistance for the construction of the home of their dreams.

Applicants with land who still require assistance with the home construction process, can access subsidised mortgages from the TTMF, pre-approved house plans, a list of shortlisted contractors and technical oversight for the construction of their homes.

In commenting on the closure of the application phase, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Randall Mitchell indicated that he is not surprised that this programme received such a positive response.  He affirmed that “we have long noted that there are many industrious and productive citizens wanting the opportunity to design and construct their own homes according to their individual tastes, needs and lifestyle.” The Minister further asserted his confidence that the application process, as adopted, will result in a higher number of submissions that meet the selection criteria.

The Minister also heaped praise and expressed his gratitude to the Ministry’s team for the professionalism, discipline and dedication shown throughout the application process. The members of the Ministry’s team went over and beyond their duties to ensure that every applicant was granted the opportunity to submit their documents for the programme.

Minister Mitchell went further to state that, “notwithstanding the present economic realities, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development will continue to provide innovative housing solutions that remain affordable and accessible to those who need it.”

The selection of successful applicants for this programme will be done through a modified weighted selection system. The Ministry intends to complete the selection process within three months.