Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, handed over two houses to persons in Trelawny on January 29, under the Government’s Indigent Housing Programme.

            Beverly Barnett of Penn Road in Stettin, and Vernice and Lloyd Dell of Martha Brae were presented with the keys to their houses, at separate ceremonies in each community.

            Units have been constructed in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Ann, St. Thomas, Clarendon, and Portland under the initiative. Each house has been built at a cost of $1.8 million.

            Speaking at the handover ceremony in Stettin, Mr. McKenzie said the approximately 200 square-foot units have been outfitted with a bed, a refrigerator, a stove, kitchen utensils, a dining table, and other household items.

            He added that two water-storage tanks will be provided to the beneficiaries for rainwater harvesting.

            “We targeted to build 25 of these units across the country when I made the announcement in my Sectoral presentation in 2017. We are well past the 25, and by the end of this financial year, we would have built some 35 of these houses right across Jamaica to aid and to support the cause of those who rely on the State,” he said.

            The Minister underscored the Government’s commitment to protecting the poor and vulnerable in Jamaica, noting that one of the measuring sticks for any society is how it treats the less fortunate.

            He further noted that the indigent housing project is an avenue through which the Government is supporting persons who have made significant contribution to the society and have fallen on hard times.

            The Minister informed that the Government has spent more than $1 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year on social programmes to improve the welfare of the indigent.

            Meanwhile, Mrs. Dell, in expressing gratitude to the Ministry, said the unit will significantly improve her standard of living as well as that of her blind husband.

            “Thank you very much. On behalf of the Dell family, I appreciate it so much. I can’t even find words… but from the depth of my heart, thank you,” she said.

            For her part, Ms. Barnett said she is grateful for the housing unit, noting that she did not have a stable place to lay her head at nights.

            “I give God thanks for the opportunity, because I was up and down, so I give thanks that I have received it (the house),” she said.