Keys handed over in pilot phase of Davy Hill Housing Regeneration Scheme

By Hazel Riley

DAVY HILL, Montserrat – Three families in Davy Hill received the keys to their new homes last week from the Honourable Minister of Lands & Housing Mr. Easton Taylor-Farrell. They are the first recipients of the new Davy Hill Housing Equity Scheme, started just over a year ago to provide a housing solution for home owners in the Davy Hill area.

At the handing over ceremony, brief presentations were made by the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Mrs. Camille Gerald; Honourable Chief Minister Mr. Reuben T. Meade; Honourable Minister Easton Taylor -Farrell and Director of Housing Mrs. Eulyn Silcott-Greaves.

PS Gerald spoke of the Housing Department’s goal to provide permanent, decent, affordable housing north of Nantes River. This is essential for the regeneration of Montserrat in the post disaster era. The handing over ceremony is part of the pilot phase of the Shared Ownership scheme, the Davy Hill Housing Regeneration project and the Home Ownership Motivates Everyone program, the HOME program.

Chief Minister Meade declared that the Shared Equity Project has been a success. “The houses had been designed, funded and constructed locally. This is testimony to the fact that Montserratians have the capacity to do things for themselves,” the leader of Government said.

Minister Farrell told the crowd on hand for the ceremony that the houses were funded from the Government’s Housing Revolving Fund and with proper management, government expects to be able to lower the cost of housing.

“The scheme has brought income to local business places including truckers and heavy equipment operators and employment to several persons.  After handing over the keys to the one two bedroom and two three bedroom homes, the soil would be turned on the site for the fourth house and two others would follow shortly,” Minister Farrell noted.

The housing minister’s mantra is “I need an affordable housing solution so that everyone in Montserrat who needs a house can have affordable housing.”

Shared equity is a new way of assisting Montserratians in owning their own home; especially low income home owners who would not normally be able to own their own homes.

In attendance were Pastor Carl Hastings who offered the opening prayer, Parliamentarian Donaldson Romeo, Leader of the Opposition Victor James, Present and Former Housing Officers, members of the community and the media. The Volpanics Steel Orchestra provided entertainment before and after the main ceremony.

Home owner Irene Riley responded on behalf of herself and the two other individual Shirley Livan and Eleanor Riley who received the keys to their new homes and others who would be beneficiaries of the scheme in the future.

Ms. Riley thanked the Government for their assistance in renovating their homes, and said “our homes are pretty, safe and secure … we are extremely happy to be the first set of residents to have our homes renovated. Thank you once again, thank you very much.”

Joycelyn Bramble who is next in line to receive housing assistance also thanked God, the Housing Department and those who worked behind the scenes to bring her to the point where she is.

The Housing Equity Scheme is a venture spearheaded by the Department of Housing, financed by the St. Patrick’s Cooperative Society and managed by the Project Implementation Unit. It allows home owners to contribute a percentage toward their home. The lending agency, the St. Patrick’s Cooperative Society would contribute the balance and would therefore co-own the home. The homeowner could then buy out the lending agency as funds become available.

Eligible beneficiaries must have land or be in a position to make a sizeable cash donation up front.

For more information contact the Department of Housing at 491-7862 fax 491-8931 or housingunit@gov.ms .

ENDS

Caption: Minister of Housing Easton Taylor-Farrell hands the keys to a jubilant homeowner. Minister Taylor-Farrell and his team spearheaded the Davy Hill Housing Regeneration Scheme.

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