Today’s Editorial: Government housing

People fear public housing and rightfully so.

A cursory glance at our neighbours to the north shows good intentions turned awry with public housing. In too many metropolitan areas public housing has been reduced to slums where gangs, drugs, piles of rubbish and a rundown appearance are the norm.

Public housing in many cities in the US is just another name for crime.

But public housing in the Cayman Islands doesn’t have to be feared.

This country has an opportunity to make government-owned housing a positive experience.

More than 130 public housing homes were built before Hurricane Ivan. There are now 77 such houses that are home to 180 Caymanians.

Houses that were destroyed in Hurricane Ivan in September are to be demolished and replaced with three-storey apartment buildings.

Instead of viewing these structures as public housing, residents in them and indeed the public should think of them as ordinary stratas.

People who rent or buy apartments in normal stratas in the Cayman Islands do so knowing that it is incumbent on them to keep their property clean and neat.

They also know that they are living in a communal setting and must adhere to rules and regulations so that all work together to make the strata successful.

That is how those who rent public housing should view their situations.

Public housing in the Cayman Islands doesn’t have to be synonymous with trash and a sense of futility.

While Hurricane Ivan brought much destruction to the Cayman Islands and the public housing scheme, it also brought a chance to rethink and improve on the idea of government-owned housing.

Housing in the Cayman Islands has long been an issue. It is now even more important since the passage of the storm, which left many people homeless.

The Government has come up with a way to solve some of those problems through public housing.

It is now incumbent on everyone to see that public housing works. It can be a positive thing and the Cayman Islands has a chance to show the US and the rest of the world that it can work.