Bodden Town affordable homes sit empty

More than 200 people on waiting list for homes

Twenty government-built affordable houses in Bodden Town that have been vacant since they were completed more than a year ago will remain empty until officials sort out an access road for the development.

Officials say more than 200 people have applied for the homes.

Tony Powell, chairman of the National Housing Development Trust which built the homes, explained that a holdup with an access road has delayed occupation of the homes.

The development needs a second access area before it can receive a certificate of occupancy.

“Government did not enter into a formal agreement with landowner Justin Wood in relation to them using that road near the Cox [Lumber] new building as the entrance to the housing scheme before they were built,” he said 

“I do not understand how Planning could have given the OK to start building without a formal easement or right of way, but they did, and after the houses were completed, they have refused to give the [certificate of occupancy] until there is an exit,” he said. “Presently, the scheme only has a main entrance from Belford Estates.” Mr. Powell was not board chairman when construction on the houses started. He said that he would not have given the OK to start construction until this was sorted.

He said the Housing Development Trust is in discussions with Mr. Wood and Harvey Stephenson, who owns the property at the rear of the housing area, to establish a second access road to the development. 

Once that is resolved, the Housing Development Trust will start selling the houses, which consist of six two-bedroom and 14 three-bedroom properties, he said. 

Applications

The housing trust also has to sift through 200 applications to find buyers who meet the requirements to secure a home on Lake Destiny Drive in Bodden Town.

However, Mr. Powell said the Trust is still accepting applications.

He said applications will be dealt with in the order in which they are received and the way people qualify.

To qualify, an applicant has to be a first-time owner, earning not more than $30,000 per year for a single applicant or $45,000 for joint applicants. 

A buyer must become the owner or occupier of the home; be currently employed for at least six months or self-employed for two years or more; currently reside in Grand Cayman; be Caymanian or holder of Caymanian status; and be within the age bracket required for repaying the mortgage loan.

Wrong concept

Mr. Powell say people have the wrong concept of the National Housing Development Trust.

“We are not a lending institution; we are administrators for the application going through the bank and for making sure people meet the necessary requirements,” he said.

He said the Trust is trying to combat the perception that the government is practically giving the houses away. 

“The past government instigated a plan of rent-to-own and it has done the consumer no good because, at the end of the day, they were renting but had no equity into the home,” he said.

He explained that the National Housing Development Trust is in the process of revamping the housing development scheme whereby people can purchase a house in partnership with the bank.

“We are actually looking for a better interest rate from them [the banks] and for some fees to be waived or cut in half, but they have not gotten back to us as yet,” he said. 

Mr. Powell also said he intends to better educate people about the affordable housing scheme and the Trust plans to hold a meeting on the subject in Bodden Town in the near future.

“There are certain people that do not qualify for the government scheme. It is those people that do not have an income but they want a house. Government has to address that area separately. What the Trust is trying to do is help those Caymanians that are in a lower [income] bracket that need a house,” he said.

He said the option of renting affordable homes in the Bodden Town housing scheme is no longer on the table because the housing trust board had passed a resolution that the homes should be purchased rather than leased.

 

 

 

Officials say the homes, for which 200 people have applied, will remain empty until access to a right of way is sorted out.

Bodden

1 COMMENT

  1. I do hope the new planned road does not finish by drowning the people of Cumber Avenue.
    That was what happened last time a back road was built with no proper drainage down in the back, with no consideration of the people out front.
    Of course, we have been ignored by all governments so let us sit back and see what takes place again. I hope no one think that this will ever be forgotten.

  2. Perhaps I am being nave by why would you build houses without an access road?

    Surely this would be planned at the same time.

    Hopefully power is connected to the houses and a/c is running. If not, when they are occupied there will be a serious mold problem.

  3. Another sad but careless story! I would like to see how much rent was paid by government for those applicants who needed these homes! Why on earth did govt not move to get the road done so occupants could move in? They should hang their heads in shame whoever has been dragging their feet on this matter. I don’t expect it to get any better, excuses, excuses seems to be the order of the day with this and pas governments. Someone needs to oversee the legislature, and that is the Premier, each minister should have to give a weekly report on all the projects that come under him/her and when they drag their feet, the Premier needs to light a fire under them or give the ministry to someone who can get the work done! All talk and no action is what I see going on! Hurry, come next election so we can elect some so called ‘low class’ ‘lazy Caymanians’ who will I am sure have more common sense! Cause these ‘educated fools’ not doing right by their people – only the foreigner and his bank account matters now! The day is coming tho for a accounting for una deeds! Unna betta be ready!

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