East End affordable housing under way

Construction begins; 26 people have signed up

Construction work on 21 affordable
homes in the East End has begun.

Six construction companies —
Topnotch, Jernat, Campbell and Sons, J and P, Lalev and East End Builders were
successful in their bid to complete the first homes. Those homes will be
available to applicants in one-bedroom, one-bath, 540 square feet; two
bedrooms, two baths, 805 square feet; and three bedrooms, two baths, 978 square
feet, set to be completed by December.

According to National Housing
Development Trust Chair Steve McLaughlin, 26 people have already signed up for
homes.

Even though people may qualify for
a mortgage loan, due to the overwhelming demand for affordable homes there is
no guarantee that everyone will be accommodated.

On Wednesday, East End Builders’
Billy McLaughlin signed his portion of the contract with government officials
during a small ceremony on the site of the nine acres off John McLean Drive
designated for the housing scheme.

“There have been a number of
challenges from one day to the next, but we made it this far and we look
forward to getting started now with the brick laying,” said Housing Minster
Mike Adam as he commended those involved in the venture.

Stating that it was important to
address social needs during these economic times, Deputy Premier Julianna
O’Connor-Connolly commended the ministers, board and counsel for their
contributions to housing and in recognising the vital role that housing plays
in stabilising a community.

“When one has a home, there is less
temptation to spend money on things that are not as important,” she said. “It
gives home owners the responsibility of building from that foundation block of
a family, whether it is a single family unit or an extended family.”

The deputy premier said she was
also pleased to see that the designated property area was one that needed no
filling.

“Often times when government tries
to meet the various, diverse and complex needs of housing from an affordable
perspective, some persons might not think there is sufficient thought that goes
into it. But just the fact that it is high, elevated ground means not only are
we providing necessary housing, but extending the capacity of a hurricane
shelter.”

She added that building properly
constructed homes is no time to cut corners because once people occupy the
homes, pay mortgage, insurance and regular expenses, there is very little
disposable income left for maintenance.

On a lighter note, the deputy
premier took particular interest in the district of East End from a historical
point of view.

She said East End was one district
that had gone to great lengths to conserve and preserve what helped to make the
Caymanian people and she would like to see the community continue in that
trend.

To qualify for homes, the applicant
must  be a first-time owner, not earn
more than CI$30,000 per year for a single applicant, or CI$45,000 for joint
applicants. The buyer must be the owner or occupier of the home; have been
employed for at least six months or self-employed for two years or more; reside
in Grand Cayman; be Caymanian or a holder of Caymanian Status, and be within
the age bracket required for repaying the mortgage loan.

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