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Minister says housing agency can't build for poor people only

If the National Housing Corporation (NHC) continues to focus only on providing housing for poor Barbadians it will never get out of its financial hole, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman declared today.

As such, he said, the NHC would have to think outside the box and change the way it operates to slash its “significant deficit” and begin turning a profit.

Kellman told Barbados TODAY that while the layoffs at the corporation last year eased the financial burden somewhat, it had not eliminated the need for assistance from the Treasury.

Minister of Housing Denis Kellman

Minister of Housing Denis Kellman

We have to find ways to reduce this deficit. It is alright to say that you have to help poor people but the only way that we can help poor people at NHC is if we have an income stream that we can help to subsidize. It’s a business . . . We have to recognize that NHC does not only have a social side but there is also a commercial side which is supposed to support that,” he said.

“I look forward to the day that we can create enough activity that we will not have to ask the Minister of Finance for any money . . . The NHC cannot be a corporation and still depend on the Treasury when it has commercial assets out there and stock to be sold.”

Kellman said it was only if the NHC sold land and properties at commercial rates that it could provide subsidized housing for the masses.

“So when you hear people say ‘there should be all subsidized houses’, then we’ll always have a deficit and sooner rather later, when it’s crunch time, you have to put the pressure on the people that you set about to help,” he cautioned.

It is against that background that Kellman disclosed that Government had introduced, on a trial basis, a $500 monthly rental fee at the Lancaster 1, St James housing project for residents who intend to purchase properties but had not yet received funds from lending institutions.

That concept, he told Barbados TODAY, would be widened to include homes at Constant, St George and Parish Land, St Philip.

A house Constant, St George where workers were on the job today, will soon be done.

A house Constant, St George where workers were on the job today, will soon be done.

Once they go to the bank and they have approval for the mortgage, and if they are renting and want access to the property, we will allow them to rent the houses until they have completed the transaction. The rent would be going towards the NHC, it is not rent-to-own,” the minister explained.

Kellman said he was particularly perturbed that some residents were “bad mouthing” that initiative.

“If you think about it, it’s a very brilliant concept and it’s one that the NHC will make money off and the future owner would also [save] money because there’s no way in Barbados you’re going to get one of those houses for less than $1,000 to rent,” he said.

“What we are saying in the ministry is ‘just come and pay us $500’. It allows you to come in, build your cupboards, do your landscaping, save $500 so that when your mortgage [transaction] is complete, you’re already in your house and would be [finished] building out everything.”

Meantime, to help deal with the ongoing challenges at the corporation, the minister urged employees to “step up to the plate”.

“You have to try to make your workers more productive  . . . We are [also] looking at how we can have a better relationship with the workers because there is no doubt we have some of the best workers . . . ,” Kellman said.

“If the workers do not work I take full responsibility for it because it’s for me to ensure that they work and it’s also for the management to ensure that the workers work.”

9 Responses to NHC HOLE

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall February 4, 2015 at 6:24 am

    You all need to allocated the house and stop playing the ass. A lot of shut up houses.

  2. Jai Prescott
    Jai Prescott February 4, 2015 at 7:21 am

    You have laid off the wrong people. The thieves are still working and the drain on the corporation is greater than you could possibly imagine

  3. Ronald Hazell
    Ronald Hazell February 4, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Wait I thought only poor people does apply and buy houses from NC.

  4. Jason Cayenne
    Jason Cayenne February 4, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Stop building one room houses and selling them to poor people for $2000000.

  5. Tony Waterman February 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Like all the other RENTED houses that went before these ones 25 years from now some Government will come to the conclusion that the persons occupying them were there long enough (Sans Payments) to qualify to OWN them and so they will be handed over to them FOC (Free of Cost) i think that would still be referred to as Deja Vu

  6. Shunelle February 4, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    The NHC vision statement is and I quote “to be the best provider of quality and affordable housing solutions for every Barbadian” and their mission “To be the leading provider of affordable housing solutions through highly skilled, competent and customer focused employees, in collaboration with our stakeholders. ”
    Yet today the Minister is making the statement that if the NHC continues to build houses for the poor people of Barbados the NHC will not get out of it’s present situation… Is the Minister aware that the majority of Barbados population cannot qualify for a 200,000 dollar mortgage which is NHC low income workers price cap for affordable housing… Yet they wish to provide bajans with the opportunity of owning their home via NHC rent to own project which was originally implemented to assist the poor in this country to be in a position to be proud home owners after paying 25 years of rent to the corporation.

    The persons who designed and approved the house plans at Lancaster should never be allowed to work for the NHC again… the housing units built in the Pine and Wildey housing area in the 1950 are more spacious that these new designs being offered in 2015. Honourable Minister which middle income worker you know will want to pay $800 plus for those houses that can’t hold a double bed in the bedroom and the living and dining area can hardly maintain living and dining room furniture. Then you design housing units for low income workers and set the rent at $600 plus and when it come time to allocate you are unable to fine tenants so you allocate them to middle income worker who we all know get a culture shock when you place them in the ghetto areas.

    I wish to say you ideas are with great intention but the execution and management of your housing project are poor and until greater thought is given to these housing solutions your corporation will continue to operate at a lost.

  7. Carl Harper February 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Does Denis Kellman really expect people to pay NHC $500 in rent and install cupboards and closets in a house that does not belong to them?

    The DLP housing policy has always been to build houses for poor Barbadians. Somewhere between elections and now, poor people looking for houses have been made to “suck salt,” with no where else to turn.

    Even the condominiums at The Grotto that were built for “poor” people, Kellman wants to sell to rich foreigners, and transform the space into another gated community at Dalkeith/Brittons Hill.

    The IDB-funded Greenfield/Cats Castle project that would have seen city dwellers improve their standard of living and quality of life, the DLP thought was too good for those poor folks. In other words, keep them in poverty walking on dirt floors and dependent on Government social services and welfare. Those IDB monies were returned to the institution unused. What a shame!

    The St Lucy MP knows quite well that everyone who applies to the bank for a loan does not qualify or gets it approved. And what next? Kick them out on the streets or they continue paying the small rent, indefinitely?

    Mr Kellman, if NHC is getting into the rental market with these newer houses, go ahead and fully outfit them for the convenience of the tenants and stop playing games with your “toys.”

  8. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce February 4, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Rent the houses to the citizens at an affordable rate. Wanna keep plucking figures out of the sky and wanna suppose to be so educated minus common sense. Wanna talk about slavery done, it is still visible. Do something different for a change and help the ordinary citizens of Barbados that vote for you all, put them first instead giving them, pure hot air, six of the best each day and draining every cent out of their purse string.


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