West Bay affordable housing issue lingers

Six families have moved out of condemned homes that were built as part of an affordable homes scheme in West Bay, but several families still remain in the dilapidated houses. 

Residents were told they needed to find alternate living accommodations because the 30 substandard homes in the Apple Blossom Gardens development were being demolished.  

The homes were condemned after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and residents never received a certificate of occupancy. 

Much of area near the houses is run down, with abandoned cars perched on cement blocks around the streets and uncut grass making it difficult for children to play in the park area. 

Julio Ramos, general manager of the National Housing Development Trust, said six families had moved out of the development after finding alternative housing.  

“Once the houses become vacant, the Trust then undertakes the exercise of demolishing these houses,” he said.  

A needs assessment report on residents two months by the Children and Family Services Department ago has not yet been tabled for discussion with the Trust’s board, Mr. Ramos said. 

Residents’ plight 

One resident said she had put all her savings into buying her home, only now to face losing her house. 

“Purchasing a government affordable home was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life,” said Norma Ebanks, 75. “It took all my little savings, 80 percent of my pension. Now they’re taking the house and leaving me with nothing [of my investments]. That’s what government calls affordable.” 

Ms. Ebanks, who had been paying a mortgage for seven years, said three years after she bought her home, she found out that she was entitled to the house but not the land, which the government owns. “If they had told me this when I was buying the house, it would not have made sense to me. If I wanted to sell it, no one would buy it.” 

She added, “[It’s] no good crying over spilt milk.” 

Another resident, 70-year-old Barbara Green, who leases her home, said, “They want us out the place to knock down the homes … Then find a place for us to live.”  

Darcy Bush, 56, said she was not listening to what government had to say after paying her mortgage for 10 years.  

“Government sold us a 20-year mortgage and the houses did not even last 10 years …. I want what I paid for or give me back my money and I will be the out of here,” she said. 

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The homes are in a state of decay. – PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

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Government has demolished up to six homes in the housing scheme. – PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is a real scary story told by these residents. Beside they are all seniors, how could such a deal been cut with them. I always heard that land claimed house, meaning that if you purchased a house the land it was on was yours too. I can’t imagine how these people feel, but surely in their golden years something should be done to help them.

  2. These folks should all get together and seek legal representation. It sounds to me like they deserved to be compensated in some way if they purchased the home from government and now they want them to leave. It does sound like this is a pattern when the government wants something, look at what they offered people for their land when the East West Arterial road was built. Some people got offered pennies for acres of land in a take or leave it deal. Even when I first purchased my land in Northside it was listed in the Lands dept as being a specific size but after buying it and paying a architect a ton of money to do a site plan, the planning department said that it was a third smaller than it was listed at and all the Land dept said was oh well someone made a mistake. It is kind of obvious that in Cayman the motto ‘Let the Buyer beware’ stands strong. I also find it strange how a people will sell you their land and then complain when you want to develop it.

  3. I defined them before ..and i will now …those people need solution not talk
    And gov should not take there money and throw them in the road the caymanians. And need help this gov promise lot things but not deliver there promises ..c4c ..is more worse
    The all till untruthful Story’s we need new homes for those people
    Jordanian

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