Beneficiaries Receive Deeds to Residential Lots from Minister of Housing and Urban Development
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Housing and Urban Development along with the Honourable Adrian Leonce, Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD) and other Executives of the Ministry and the Land Settlement Agency (LSA) presented Deeds of Lease to deserving beneficiaries, under the Government Aided Self-Help Housing Programme. The distribution ceremony was held on May 2, 2023, at the Government Campus Plaza Auditorium, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain.
In delivering the Feature Address, Minister Robinson-Regis said: “The provision of public housing and residential lots forms a necessary tenet of our national development strategy as a means of eradicating poverty, creating inter-generational wealth, as well as achieving economic growth and social mobility.” The Minister added: “When we enable our citizens like this, we are not just meeting a family’s need for safe and secure shelter, but we are also providing a tangible opportunity for them to put down roots, maintain stability, create vibrant, wholesome communities that they and their families can enjoy for years to come.”
In delivering his remarks, the Honourable Adrian Leonce, Minister in the Ministry said: “The Government Aided Self-Help Housing Programme has all of the components of a successful and sustainable programme to complement the Ministry’s Accelerated Housing Programme.” He also said this Administration is “always reminded to put people first, and in so doing nurture our greatest asset for the sustainable development of our nation.”
A total of 50 families received 30-year leases, with an option to renew, for residential lots in Chaguanas (27) and Carapichaima (23). Additionally, programme beneficiaries have access to low-interest rates (2% – 5% ) from the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance
Company Ltd. (TTMF), building plans from the LSA as well as assistance and guidance
to meet statutory building requirements. Both Ministers encouraged citizens to utilise the various services and programmes of the State, which are provided at no additional charge.
Minister Robinson-Regis also reminded the gathering that the LSA is also responsible for the Squatter Regularisation Programme and Tenancy Programme, which provide eligible squatters and tenants with the opportunity to access Security of Tenure for the land they occupy, to improve their living conditions.
She further stated: “There will be occasions when it becomes necessary to reclaim lands that belong to the State. We will continue to do this as humanely as possible. We will follow the prescriptions laid down in the law to deal with such matters, as squatting must not and should not be condoned by right-thinking persons. There are procedures to follow to apply for State lands and we expect that persons will follow those procedures so that we do not end up with a lawless society.”
The Government Aided Self-Help Housing Programme (GASHHP) is an affordable and high-quality housing initiative administered by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MHUD) and project-managed by the Land Settlement Agency which falls under the remit of the MHUD. This Programme is designed to encourage qualifying beneficiaries, with or without land, to manage their own home construction with financial and technical support from the State. The programme provides fully serviceable lots which are sold at thirty (30%) percent its market value. Beneficiaries can also access subsidised mortgage facilities from the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company, preapproved house plans, a pool of approved contractors and oversight assistance from the Land Settlement Agency so that they can construct high-quality, affordable homes.
Of the seven hundred (700) applicants who were randomly selected and met the eligibility criteria, over the course of the GASHHP, five hundred and fifty-five families have received Deeds of Lease to their residential lots, based on their pre-qualification assessment.
The process is such that beneficiaries first pay off the land, either via a mortgage or from their funds and are then issued a Deed of Lease for a term of 30 years with the option to renew. Thereafter, persons must construct their homes within a two-year timeframe (from the date of Issuance of the Deed), which can be extended by one (1) year.
Fully developed lots are located in, Cashew Gardens, Carlsen Field; Chin Chin, Cunupia; Factory Road, Chaguanas; Milton Village, Couva; Orange Field Road, Carapichaima; Picton Extension, Diamond Village, San Fernando; Roopsingh Road, Carapichaima; and Waterloo Road, Carapichaima.