118 Sophia families benefit from $59M in home improvement subsidies


Some $59 million in Home Improvement Subsidies have been disbursed to a total of one hundred and eighteen (118) low-income families in Sophia by the Housing and Water Ministry’s, Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).

The contract signing for the distribution of the grants was done by the beneficiaries at the Section ‘C’ Turkeyen (Sophia) recreational facility on Thursday afternoon.

These subsidies are being distributed under the Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Program (AHUHAP), which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Before this event, each beneficiary participated in sensitisation sessions, which allowed them to raise concerns and queries with officials from the CH&PA’s Projects, Community Development and Legal Departments.

Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal in his address stated that the “programme will improve the housing conditions of citizens in these communities, increase their access to critical infrastructure, as well as, enhance mobility and safety”.

Minister Croal also noted that through the program a total of $1.5 billion has been spent on the upgrades of twelve (12) kilometers of asphalted concrete roads, concrete bridges, concrete walkways, drainage culverts, and other infrastructure works in Sophia communities.

A new $51.3 million multi-purpose facility is also being built at the Section ‘C’ Turkeyen recreational ground.

Referencing the ongoing construction of housing units in Sophia, Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry, Susan Rodrigues highlighted that the overall aim of the government is to reduce stigma and discrimination attached to the area.

“We will develop and transform the face of Sophia, people must no longer associate Sophia with fear [and] that is something that must be eliminated within our first term in office,” Rodrigues stated.

Similar sentiments were also expressed by Permanent Secretary, Andre Ally, who noted that the government’s modus operandi is one that is equitable and non-discriminatory.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer, of CH&PA, Sherwyn Greaves explained that the home improvement subsidies will be no more than $500,000 for each house hold selected and granted in the form of building materials for repairs to walls, floors, electrical works and sanitation improvements, among others.

CEO said that the country currently faces a housing deficit of 4,000, which has resulted in overcrowding and reducing quality of life. As such AHUAP plays an important role in government’s response for more sustainable housing solutions. All beneficiaries are individuals in vulnerable households, living in structures considered to not be habitable. These are also persons who possess ownership of the said property and would have applied and prequalified for the programme.

In addition to the Home Improvement Subsidies, the Ministry through CH&PA also distributed Cash Grants to three (3) farmers at a total of $640,000; and seventeen (17) Income Allowance Entitlements, valued $554,000 to business owners.

These other two components fall under AHUAP’s Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP) to compensate Project Affected Persons (PAP), who were displaced during the infrastructure works in Sophia. Cash entitlements were determined based on the daily income (profits) accruing from businesses/commercial activity reported by PAPs and recorded during the socio-economic survey.

In August, CH&PA also distributed a total of $164 million in home improvement subsidies and contracts for core homes under AHUAP in Parfaite Harmonie, Region Three.