British Virgin Islands

Monday, Jun 21, 2021

Locals refuse housing assist, favour grants over low-interest loans

Locals refuse housing assist, favour grants over low-interest loans

Minister of Health & Social Development Carvin Malone has said persons selected to receive low-interest loans under government’s Housing Recovery Assistance Programme have either refused to accept the loans or failed to complete the process to be granted loans.

The minister made the statement in a recent session of the House of Assembly, where he revealed that the loan interest programme was facing a number of challenges.

He said these challenges resulted in the allocated funds being under-utilised.

“Of the six persons recommended for low-interest loans administered by the National Bank of the Virgin Islands, only four persons may complete the process. To date, two loans have been processed and two remains pending. The others were unable to complete the process to acquire the low-interest loans,” Malone stated.

“More so, applicants are not interested in the low-interest loans. A balance of $210,000 has been committed to date and only $80,000 issued,” he added.

Grants the preferred option


In contrast to the low-interest loans, Minister Malone said grants under the housing progamme such as the Material Grant was being heavily utilised, with more than $1.4 million issued since 2019.

He said: “The Material Grant was introduced in November 2019 in an effort to assist homeowners who are able to meet their own labour costs, but require some assistance in purchasing much-needed building supplies.”

“Since the inception in November 2019, 261 persons benefited from the material grant programme. A total of $1,423,277.60 have been spent for the programme. The material grant component provided an immediate relief to affected households to purchase small quantities of building materials from local suppliers,” he stated.

20 homes under Social Grant to be completed in 2021


Malone further said 50 percent of the 40 beneficiaries selected under the Social Grant component of the housing programme will have their homes completed within this calendar year.

“To date, of the 40 social homes to be built, 11 homes have been completed; two homes are still undergoing construction; seven homes are currently being tendered through the government’s public tendering process; and the remaining 20 homes are in the process to be completed in 2021. Eighteen homes are currently in the design phase, two homes are being considered for approval by the relevant authorities,” he stated.

Only one beneficiary from the Rebuild Grant commences works


In the meantime, Malone said only five percent of the 20 persons selected to benefit under the Rebuild Grant initiative have commenced repair works.

“To date, one beneficiary has received their mobilisation to commence works on their home reconstruction. The remaining 19 beneficiaries are in the process of providing the relevant documentation to be issued their mobilisation to commence reconstruction of their homes,” the minister stated.

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