The new administration is tackling the immense backlog of house lot applications at the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA). According to Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, the lack of a comprehensive housing policy, by the APNU/AFC Coalition administration, is one of the reasons for the accumulation.
On Tuesday, Minister of Housing and Water the Collin Croal, and Minister Rodrigues, visited communities in the South Georgetown area, including sections of Sophia.
Their visit was prompted by recent reports by the CH&PA and the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) concerning unsafe squatter settlements where the residents are not receiving clean, potable water.
The Ministers stressed that while squatting is still illegal and is not encouraged, there will be no strong-arm approach to removing the squatters. Instead, a comprehensive plan that prioritises emergency cases will be drafted that will allocate house lots utilising a need-based approach.
Minister Croal revealed that upon review, he was alerted that roughly 62,000 active applicants are still in the system. The alarming figure represents applicants spanning several years, many of whom, in some cases, have not been allotted house lots due to unavailability of developed land in their preferred area.
Relocation of squatters in the Sophia area is of top priority because of their peculiar circumstances.
“Since 2015, there hasn’t been any government subvention granted to Central Housing and Planning Authority so that clearly shows that housing was not a priority for the previous administration,” Minister Rodrigues said.
She added that although the backlog does exist, the PPP/C government is committed to the fulfilment of its manifesto assurances.
Further, the Ministers assured that they will aggressively pursue the matter, building on the track record of the PPP/C as a government that has provided affordable housing solutions for Guyanese for decades.