Over 2500 persons access services

‘Dream Realised’ housing initiative

…600 new applications received
…financial institutions, citizens welcome initiative

The Housing and Water Ministry brought the curtains down on its two-day “Dream Realised” housing initiative on Saturday, dubbing the event as a success with thousands of persons accessing services.

From left: Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority, Sherwin Greaves; Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal, and Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry, Susan Rodrigues

Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal in providing a breakdown of the number of persons accessing services at the Dream Realised Housing Initiative 2020, which was held at the National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD), said that the response had been overwhelming.
“Over these past two days, the combined services – whether it is meeting with Ministers, whether it is interviews that is being conducted in terms of new applicants, whether it is in terms of responding to queries, whether it is in terms of responding to letters – we have seen over 2500 persons for over these two days. That figure does not include those who came and heard the nature of our activity they simply collected brochures and went away. The figure that I am giving you, I am referring to persons that we have actually seen and for which we have conducted services,” Minister Croal reported.
The “Dream Realised” housing initiative was aimed at distributing titles and Transports for house lots that were awarded to qualified persons. In some cases, the house lots were allotted since under the last PPP/C Government pre-2015 and those applicants are now receiving the titles.

Persons waiting to access services

He added that the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) was well on its way of achieving the target of distributing 350 titles and Transports during the two-day period. The Minister further related that in addition to the distribution of titles, the Ministry offered a number of services which persons utilised.
Croal explained that the CH&PA brought a section of its Accounting Unit to the National Stadium to facilitate persons making payments.

600 new applications
The Minister revealed that they have also received some 600 applications for new house lots. Of that number, over 200 persons have conducted the preliminary interview meaning they would have verified their documents and provided the Housing Authority with the requisite information.
Those new applications would now be placed in the system for the allocation of lots.
For years, the CH&PA has reported a backlog in allocations with the latest numbers suggesting that figure to be just over 67,000.
However, the Minister committed to addressing the backlog and assured persons that once they are in possession of their allocation letters, they will receive house lots.
He also pleaded with persons to ensure that their information is updated should they have a change of address or telephone numbers so when the time comes for allocation, they can be easily reached.

Understanding need for housing
Meanwhile, Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry Susan Rodrigues expressed that the Government understands the need for housing and added that the sheer number of persons attempting to access services is a testament for it.
She related that there are currently about 2600 titles and Transports in the system to be distributed. It was one of the reasons for the Ministry to embark on the “Dream Realised” initiative so that they could update the system and provide qualified persons with their documents.
“Many persons have been waiting for years to receive their title documents and we thought it would be important to kick off the activities with that distribution…we want to drive housing in Guyana. We see the importance of the construction sector in turning the wheels of the economy. So, with title distribution and encouraging ownership, we allow persons the opportunity to approach the banks so they can obtain their loans so they can build their homes. This creates employment for our people and will drive the economy,” the Minister told reporters.

Financial institutions
At the National Stadium, a number of financial intuitions had booths advertising the services they offer along with roping in potential clients. The competition was among the banks and their loan programmes.

Business Development Manager of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), Rawattie Mohandeo told <<<Guyana Times>>> that they were happy with the initiative that the Government is pushing.
“We believe it is a good initiative and what we have seen is a lot of persons querying what is the status of their application (with the CH&PA). We have met with the Ministers and the Executives in the Housing Ministry and what we will do is to collaborate after this event to reach out to those persons and see how we can assist in making their dream a reality which is owning a home.
“We believe the response has been good and we have seen about 200 persons and what we have done is sort of interact with the crowd and get a feel of what is happening and that tells us what we need to do on our end,” she said.
Meanwhile, Citizens Bank’s Marketing Officer Mickel McKenzie said they are relying on the fact their bank is homegrown and that they have the most competitive rates on the market. He too lauded the initiative by the Ministry.
“What we are here to do is to help persons who got their titles to know that they can get financing at Citizens Bank. You know that persons are excited and once you get that title you come down and speak with us and what we do is that we walk you down the process and we look at your income and get you on the right path,” he said.
Both Ministers were on the ground for the past two days meeting with persons to address their concerns. They have also pledged to take the initiative to the Demerara-Mahaica and East Berbice-Corentyne Regions in the coming weeks.
They have promised to ensure that they deliver on the promise of 50,000 house lots within the first five years of the Dr Irfaan Ali-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government. (G2)