Affordable homes still sit empty

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The 20 affordable homes in Bodden Town remain unoccupied since they were completed more than a year ago, the National Housing Development Trust said Wednesday.  

Despite government having gained road access to the properties in May, residents still have not been able to move in. 

Julio Ramos, general manager of the Housing Trust, said that 25 applicants have been short-listed for the Bodden Town homes, and the Housing Trust is waiting on updates from some of the applicants. 

In May, the Housing Trust had said residents would be able to occupy the homes in June. 

At that time, more than 200 people had applied for a house. Housing Trust chairman George Powell said at the time that once the road access was resolved, the Trust would start selling the homes.  

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.  

Meanwhile, the situation with substandard government affordable homes in West Bay remains largely unchanged since May. 

According to Mr. Ramos, no more homes on Apple Blossom Road have been demolished beyond the five or six homes already torn down, nor has anyone else been told to leave. The Trust has recommended that residents seek appointments with Children and Family Services for assistance in finding new accommodations. 

Apple Blossom residents drew attention in May when government officials told them they had to find other accommodations because their homes were not suitable to live in and were going to be demolished. 

At the time, the Housing Trust said most of the residents were either delinquent on their mortgage payments or not paying anything at all, and whatever equity they had invested was gone. 

Many of the residents, some of whom are in ill health, have lived there for 10 years. 

In May, they were skeptical about booking an appointment at Children and Family Services because of the length of time it took. 

Government was in the process of tearing down some homes but halted after residents complained homes were being demolished while people were at work.  

Visits to the site by government officials also failed to alleviate fears of residents, who pressed for answers about losing their homes. 

Most of the residents agree that the homes are in a deplorable state, but once they leave their homes, they worry about ever being able to own another one. 

Apple Blossom home owner Darcy Murdock said she is not going anywhere as long as she has no other option but to wait on the National Housing Development Trust. “I have water, light and keep my place clean,” she said. 

“Besides that, life goes by in Apple Blossom, West Bay. The place is getting nastier and the government is not doing anything to keep the place up, no one is cleaning the grounds and the garbage and flies some weeks ago was overwhelming,” she said. 

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Government gained road access to the Bodden Town properties in May, but residents still have not been able to move in. – Photo: Jewel Levy

1 COMMENT

  1. I do understand that Cayman can be very expensive and have always supported the push for affordable homes for lower income individuals and families. However, when I see the statements from people like Darcy Murdock I become very concerned that we have created an unhealthy culture of dependence among some people within our community.

    Ms. Murdock is quoted in this article as saying that the ‘place Apple Blossom, West Bay is getting nastier and the government is not doing anything to keep the place up’. I find this statement to be very disturbing as most of the people that live in these affordable homes are paying very little or nothing for their accommodations and the least that one would expect is for the residents of these communities to get together and keep the place clean and well maintained.

    One of the things that we also need to look at is the possibility that we are importing poverty into the country as many of the people that I have spoken with that are on some form of government assistance are not originally from the Cayman Islands or have parents that were not originally from Cayman Islands.

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