Tashana takes aim at dream house for ChristmasMonday, October 25, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
After a rigorous selection process involving scores of candidates, ground was broken yesterday at 13 Ashley Road in south-west St Andrew for the construction of a dream house by Christmas for Tashana Mallett and her family.
Mallett, her children, and her father will be the first family in the constituency to receive a house under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Municipal Social Assistance programme, and she is excited even though the first block has not yet been laid.
“I am just happy and I'm lost for words. I have waited patiently. Mi know mi time woulda come suh mi just did a pray. It has been a few years waiting. This is my dream house. I can't buy one, so I have to say this is my dream house.
“Four of us live and we were in one big room and it nuh stay good none at all. Sometimes, how you want to sleep you can't do it because everybody just pack up-pack up,” said Mallett.
Dr Angela Brown Burke, Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, told the Jamaica Observer that it was a difficult selection process seeing that the housing stock in Whitfield Town, where Ashley Road is located, is one of the oldest in Kingston and St Andrew and therefore requires extensive repairs.
“I know Tash is pleased because when we said to her to make sure she finds somewhere to go so we can start building, a short while after that my office called and said 'Tash asking when you going to start because she move out already,'” said Brown Burke.
She argued that the family is well-deserving. “She has been waiting for it a long time, so we are pleased to know that we are starting today [Wednesday]”.
The project will cost roughly $2.8 million to build the multiple-bedroom, concrete structure, which will include kitchen, bathroom and a wash room, according to Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie.
“We are putting in a washing area and a water tank and it will be a fully constructed house that will meet the requirements of the family,” said McKenzie.
Speaking proudly of the gradually expanding indigent housing programme, McKenzie said the next ground breaking will take place in Kingston Central, where four houses will be constructed for families there. Then it will be on to St Andrew Southern to carry out more construction.
“When you come into situations like these and you see the housing stock it tells you why there is a need to expand the programme. We have needy Jamaicans right across the country and it is a pleasure to know that we are going to be playing a part in helping to alleviate some of the challenges experienced in areas such as this,” added McKenzie.
The housing programme started in 2017 to address challenges in rural Jamaica, but has been expanded since.
“In 2017 we committed to 25 houses and then we committed to do 50, 75 and 100, and we have surpassed that. We are starting 100 new housing solutions right across the country, which we hope to do for this financial year.
“The next targeted area in the Corporate Area will be in south St Andrew and then central Kingston and then we will go into south St James, and then we will go into western Westmoreland. We have over 30 units presently under construction right across Jamaica and we are building these units at an affordable price,” declared McKenzie.
“We are using tax dollars in a meaningful and productive way so that persons can benefit. The Government has committed to providing over 70,000 houses. We are playing our part in that 70,000 target. There is a joint partnership with the HOPE programme and the Ministry of Local Government that we are going to commencing in a short while. We will be building an additional 20 units as part of the Social Housing Programme,” McKenzie said, while also warning Jamaicans that the houses the Government builds for them are not for sale or rent.
“It is not for any little young boy or girl to hitch up and it is not for sale or for rent. The poor relief department of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation will have an active role to visit and ensure what was given is maintained. The persons who are benefiting [must be] those in need,” McKenzie warned.