But, the prolonged feeling of desperation and despair consequently besetting the family, has dissipated into hope and optimism.
This, as Ms. Jenkins is among the recipients of the initial 2,125 wooden houses built under the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing /Food for the Poor (FFP) Collaborative Housing Project, between October 2012 and May 2015, at a cost of approximately $798.8 million.
The units are among 9,000 wooden and concrete housing solutions earmarked for development for low-income earners islandwide, over a five-year period.
Construction is being carried out under the Government’s Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), with management from the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ).
Also included are some 500 houses earmarked for residents of St. Mary, Portland, and St. Thomas, who lost their homes during the passage of hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
The overall undertaking is being facilitated under an agreement, signed in 2012, by the Government of Jamaica, Food for the Poor, and the PetroCaribe Development Fund, which is financing the development.
Fifty-three of the houses, which comprise comfortable living space, a bathroom outfitted with a flush toilet and shower, kitchenette, and solar power panel installations, have been constructed in Trelawny.
The keys to five of the units, located in Braco, were formally presented to the new homeowners, including Ms. Jenkins, by Minister without Portfolio (Housing) in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, during a ceremony in the community, on June 4.
In delivering the keynote address, Dr. Morais Guy lauded the collaboration facilitating the project’s implementation.
“This type of (private/public sector) partnership that we have had with Food for the Poor is something that the Government of Jamaica is very mindful (of, as it is yielding significant) benefits,” Minister Guy stated.
An elated Ms. Jenkins indicated that “I don’t feel so bad anymore, because I have somewhere (for me and my children) to sleep at nights.”
“I thank Food for the Poor for (providing) this house (for) me and my family. I thank you so much because most of the times we (were) out on the streets, so I thank you for it. Thank you. Thank God,” she said.
For his part, Food for the Poor’s Executive Director, David Mair, said his organization “is extremely proud of the collaboration with the Government in this life-changing housing development programme.”
“This could not have been possible without the help of key partners and stakeholders who have invested their time and their resources into the lives of the less fortunate. We are optimistic that that this housing initiative will help break the cycle of poverty, and restore hope to our beneficiaries,” Mr. Mair stated.
Attorney General and North Trelawny Member of Parliament, Hon. Patrick Atkinson, who also attended the ceremony, said “one of the fundamental commitments of the Government is to continue to empower its people by giving them a piece of the ‘rock’ and housing.”
He indicated that holistic plan, targeting the developmental priorities of communities in North Trelawny, is being undertaken.
These priorities, Mr. Atkinson pointed out, are being addressed, primarily, through the strengthening of agriculture and tourism infrastructures.
He said targeted engagements to this end include: relocation of the Falmouth Market; renovation of Braco Resort; and earmarked implementation of a major greenhouse farming programme.
“We recognize that to fully empower the people, we have to develop the (community) in such a way that persons can find employment and can make their own way,” Mr. Atkinson contended.
A total of 1,800 wooden and concrete structures are being targeted for construction and delivery annually, under the five-year Housing Collaborative Project.
Wooden dwellings will cost approximately $743,360 (US$6,400) per unit, and concrete houses, $1,103, 435 (US$9,500) each.
The cost to build the wooden homes is being met through the Government’s provision of approximately $371,680 (US$3,200) for each unit, being facilitated through PetroCaribe Development Fund financing, and Food for the Poor matching this amount.
The houses are being built on lands either provided by the Government, or owned or accessed by the beneficiaries.
They will be selected from Food for the Poor’s list of existing applicants as well as from persons recommended by Members of Parliament, Councillors, Churches, and community groups.
Erection of the concrete units will each cost approximately$1,203,425 (US$9,500), and will be sold on the open market by the National Housing Trust (NHT), using its priority index system to select the beneficiaries.
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