PHILIPSBURG-Minister of VROMI Angel Meyers is anticipating a good working relationship with the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF).
He recently met with the foundation and announced they would work on several initiatives together, including a proper home maintenance programme, enhancing the SALES Programme and providing assistance to the SMHDF.
The Minister, during the Council of Ministers press conference on Wednesday, February 17, addressed plans for the SALES programme. He said the programme is designed to assist with affordable St. Maarten housing solutions. “The objective of the SALES Programme is to increase revenue, which aims to enhance housing opportunities for the economically weak in society with affordable and safe housing. Residents will have opportunity to acquire home ownership at a low cost,” Meyers said. Current tenants in these homes will have first preference, he stated.
The Minister also spoke about plans for VROMI to assist the Foundation. These include providing subsidies for low income earners to assist in paying rent or in providing properties for development.
Meanwhile, Meyers said he toured two newly constructed homes in Belvedere, and was very impressed. “I was very impressed with the quality of work and the finishing and the price those homes will be sold. In addition, six additional units will be constructed by the foundation for the purpose of selling as well,” he said.
Regarding home maintenance, the Minister said both Government and the SMHDF are looking at ways to come up with a structural home maintenance programme, which would include a mechanism to receive complaints. “This year 2016, they plan to do maintenance on homes on the Ana Hope Estate Road and homes on the Belvedere main road. These include interior and the exterior of the homes, paint work, replacing of windows, etc.,” Meyers stated.
These repair works will be done in a phased manner due to financial constraints. Minister Meyers also disclosed that the Foga property would be transferred to the Housing Foundation, and homes there would be sold on a lease-to-own basis. This involves persons paying 5% as a down payment on the house, a monthly payment for three years, followed by a mortgage from a financial institution of the choice of the buyer.