Three low-income houses are being built in The Range, an area overlooking The Bottom. The new houses will add six dwellings, consisting of three-bedroom apartments upstairs and one-bedroom apartments downstairs, with separate cisterns. The land owned by Own Your Own Home Foundation (OYOHF) for some time, already has two other low-income houses which are currently rented. HES Constructions is building the homes. Funding was secured from Social- Economic Initiative (SEI) resources allocated to the island. These houses were due for completion early this year but the contractor experienced challenges, noted OYOHF president Rolando Wilson. Delivery has now been set for June or July.
Once completed, the houses are to be distributed based on to-be-established priority criteria. Reports will be drafted, with the board reviewing the report twice a year after visiting all social housing. These recurrent social evaluations will monitor incentives for change as well as the state of maintenance or disrepair of certain properties. While he did not wish to dwell on the subject, Wilson suggested that some dwellings are not just exposed to normal wear and tear, but that sometimes there is noticeable “intentional destruction of property.”
He wished to remind current and future tenants that, “when renting social homes, people are committing themselves to maintain them in proper condition, inside and out.” He also noted that, “there are homes awarded some 25 years ago, some of which are in the exact same condition, while others are not.”
If the “deterioration is caused by an “act of God” the Housing Foundation would step in to aid in repairs, but if purposely destroyed, renters will have to do repairs on their own.” The warning is meant to address potential abuse of OYOHF’s resources and to avoid any of these homes becoming an eyesore. With this in mind, the design of the homes under construction and the type of materials used are selected for their longevity. Wilson extended OYOHF’s gratitude, “in particular to Bobby Zagers and Brandon Hassell and in general to the Planning Bureau for all their support, ensuring the progress of all social housing projects.”
The new homes in The Range will not go on sale. Wilson emphasised that OYOHF will work with tenants to investigate any family property on which the young families could build their own homes. Young families that own land, and can provide proof of employment and income would receive support in obtaining loans, in dealing with the legal process and even in facilitating already made house designs. The foundation may also make plots of land available to young families during the third phase of the Under the Hill project. OYOHF could also act as financial consultant, helping applicants adjust plans and make money available in a closely monitored process. To ensure that funds are not misused, OYOHF would only disburse construction funds in phases based on construction progress and by monitoring the actual costs of construction material and labour. These disbursed funds will be loans with socially sensitive interest rates, under the levels currently offered by some local banks.