Bodden Town affordable homes sit empty

More than 230 people have applied for 20 homes in the affordable housing development in Bodden Town, but none of the applications has been approved. 

All but one of the homes on the site off Sitwell Road have sat empty since the National Housing Development Trust completed them in August 2013. The one house that isn’t empty is occupied by the family of missing landfill worker Anna Evans, who did not have to go through the normal application process.  

In May of this year, when the development was completely empty and the Housing Trust had finally secured an easement to give residents access to the site, Housing Trust board chair George Powell said they were hoping to have people in the homes by June 2014. 

Now, Housing Trust managing director Julio Ramos said he expects people to start moving in by mid-January at the latest. He said the Trust has approved 12 applications, but none of the applicants had yet obtained a mortgage. 

According to minutes from the Trust’s board of directors and interviews with some of the applicants, many of the applicants have been waiting for more than a year for a decision. Several applicants told the Cayman Compass that they had given up because the Trust was taking too long to respond. 

According to the meeting minutes, many of the applicants had stopped responding to requests for additional information.  

First-time home owners who earn $30,000 or less, or a couple earning $45,000 or less per year can apply to the Housing Trust for an affordable home. If approved by the Trust’s board, applicants then must apply to a bank for a traditional mortgage.  

Among the 20 homes, six have two bedrooms and cost $105,000 each; and 14 are three-bedroom homes selling for $120,000 each. 

Anita Frederick, a Bodden Town resident who submitted an application with her daughter more than a year ago, said, “It is nothing but a headache and runaround from National Housing Trust.” 

“The homes are there but they are not getting to us,” said Ms. Frederick. “National Housing Trust is not making us know what is going on. We are Bodden Towners, there are people looking [for] homes… We went through the housing process because we thought it would be easier than the bank, but there is no help. We might as well give up.” 

In July, members of the Housing Trust board said they had seen only 144 of the 200 applications for the Bodden Town homes, according to minutes from the July 3 meeting. At least one unnamed board member said the Housing Trust staff “has not been forthcoming with all the files.” 

The minutes from that meeting note: “Staff need to be taking their job serious as there are constant and multiple mistakes that are made.”  

Mr. Ramos said the board has been reviewing applications from as far back as 2006, and 64 percent have responded with updated information. 

Another applicant, Alice Bodden, said, “I have kind of given up on getting one of the homes. I just don’t know what to say when it comes to those affordable homes and the length of time it is taking.” 

Ms. Bodden said she applied long before the homes were built. “I had my application in from 2008. In 2013 I was told to come in and update my application. In April I was told there was an issue with an access road and that had to be addressed. Since that time, I have not heard anything else,” she said. 

Mr. Ramos said that the housing Trust board was almost caught up with the backlog, and turnaround time would be much shorter for applicants going forward. 

An additional 14 homes are planned for the site as the second phase of the project.  

Compass reporter Charles Duncan contributed to this report. 

Bodden-Town-Afforable-Homes

The only occupants in the Bodden Town affordable housing development are the family of missing landfill worker Anna Evans. – Photo: Jewel Levy

1 COMMENT

  1. Why does it take a year to process an approval ? It could be done in a day. The applicants need to get paperwork to get approval. Once the committee has setup the standards it should be a simple process to approve.
    What could be the excuse to holdup the process? The first 20 people who got their papers in for low cost housing should be in their houses already, simple. Bureaucracy again is causing more problems.

  2. This is a good project, however I believe caution has to be made by the trust in doing the right thing about giving out the homes. For instance a person should be on a job for over a year and be in a position to obtain a mortgage with a security, otherwise what will happen is people will ending up loosing their homes, either byway of cannot afford to continue payments or will not pay, which then will involve the Government and the line starts all over again.

  3. It’s going to be hard for a family that makes 45K a year to get a 120 Thousand Dollar Mortgage. That’s about 3700 a month A mortgage payment of roughly 650 a month may seem low but when you factor in other costs of living like Insurance, CUC, Food and a Car. The money will get spend up real quick unless you or proficient with sticking to a budget. Oh and the applicants will need to have decent credit.

    I am also sure that banks are leery about giving mortgages for these homes with all the resell restrictions on them that exist not to mention that the applicant are already high risk applicants in their books.

    The one they gave to Anna family is kind of a smack in the face to the people who have been struggling through the application process. I would really like to know if the house was given to them or rented and what the terms are. But it probably doesn’t matter because I’m sure government would catch hell tying to get them out if they ever decided to try. The one thing that’s true is that they surely made out a lot better then the other resident that had to move.

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