Roseau, Dominica: The government of the Commonwealth of Dominica launched the “Future Housing Programme” on Saturday, 16 July 2022, where Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit outlined the entire criteria of the programme.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that under the programme, the homes would be provided to the people who qualify or the age of 45 years or younger. He asserted that some discretion would also be applied if someone is slight over the age of 45, and this will be done on a case-by-case basis.
He outlined that the first phase will target young professionals and young people who are residents in Dominica, and later it will also expand to those who live in the diaspora.
PM Skerrit stressed that the housing policy is premised on the understanding that government has a responsibility to provide for the more vulnerable in the society who have greater difficulty fending for themselves.
“As long as we can, we will continue to respond to the needs of our people for safe, resilient, affordable housing,” he added.
Referring to the Dominica Labour Party’s 2019 manifesto, PM Skerrit asserted that they pledged that the people of Dominica would properly be housed and that the national housing stock of the country would be amongst the highest in quality and most resilient in the Caribbean.
“We have delivered our promise to provide new and upgraded homes of superior standards to our citizens across the length and breadth of Dominica. We are making this intervention during a period of strive strains or global crisis including our country,” he asserted.
He said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is grappling with rising inflation and the corresponding increases in the price of goods and services.
Recognising all this, the government’s revenue has also been impacted, but they must do what they want and cannot leave the people in the tough times.
“We preseve with our social stuff new programmes because at the core of our development agenda is the wellbeing of our people, especially the most vulnerable groups in our society.”
PM Skerrit mentioned that in the government of Dominica shows the evidence of the intervention to care for the elderly, providing employment for young men and young women.
He further asserted that these programmes are continuing uninterrupted and the government is expanding our housing revolution ad widen its scope to target more population.
The future housing programme will see the construction of homes for sale to young professionals who are employed within the public and private sectors and are looking to invest in their own homes.
The tagline for this programme reads- Empowerment through Ownership- A Path to Generational Wealth. Prime Minister said the words were chosen very deliberately to convey the exact objective of this programme; which is to hand members of the working class the means to invest in their own properties. This can then be used as security to build greater wealth which can be transferred to their children and grandchildren.
“In Dominica, we do not have a deep-seated culture that takes this into consideration. But if proper generational wealth planning and management, wealth can be passed down for many generations within families. This is important because we all want to give our children a significant financial advantage early on in their life so that they have a better chance at successful and progressive futures,” said the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Skerrit said there are several benefits of the “Future Housing Programme” that homeownership is much more than putting a roof overhead and the purchasing a home is a foundational step for building generational wealth and one of the most consistent ways to build a financial bedrock. He said the government is working towards taking Dominica where people would like to see it.
Outlining the importance of the house, he asserted that proper housing provides security for families and contributes to the progress of society. A home positively impacts social, emotional, and economic wellbeing and is a sanctuary where families can live in peace and dignity.
“What I would like to see as prime minister of this country is a situation where every family is an owner of thier own home and not the slave of the deliberately selfish land owners in our country.”
He added that as a government they understand that it is difficult to access loan, local financial institutions as people cannot survive quality because they do not yet have the capacity to meet the terms and conditions.
Upon completion, the homes will be sold less than the cost of construction, “This is our way of subsiding overall cost of the home so that the cost is within your financial range as young professionals and young Dominicans, “said the PM.
He said that the banks are ready to offer loan conception in some cases as low as 4 percent which has written while indication that they will offer 4 percent to those who qualify from the disposal and there’s another offered 4.25 percent and the others are given serious consideration to getting to around the 4 percent.
Prime Minister Skerrit also invited other suppliers of goods and services with an intention to ensure that these homes are being built and everything they purchase will come from local suppliers and goods to ensure that every single dollar can circulate in the economy of the country.
He further urged people to look out these opportunities while adding that if this first phase is successful, the government will surely expand the programme to other parts of the island.
“We will move into Hillsborough Gardens and Saint Joseph in the next step, and the intention is to other communities so that we could decentralize so that we underpopulated one community and overpopulate other which ensure the population is evenly spread.”
Moreover, once the project is done, the government is also planning to extend it to overseas because they have seen a dramatic rise in interest by the diaspora, in owning properties in Dominica, underlined PM Skerrit.