Thursday, April 10, 2003 – Government has pledged its continued
assistance to the underprivileged through the provision of low income housing,
which has been identified in economic and social development.
During his Budget Presentation, Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Kenny D.
Anthony said that as the government cannot afford social or geographic
imbalances in development, equity must prevail throughout all communities in
“Owning a home improves the quality of life. It builds self-esteem and it
affords low-income families an opportunity to enhance their equity base,” Dr.
Anthony said. Commencing this month, government will be implementing a credit
facility to assist low-income persons in rural communities in acquiring land or
in constructing their homes. Under the Low Income Housing Credit Facility, a
grant will be provided to persons wishing to borrow money to build their homes
or to purchase land. The borrower will be required to satisfy certain criteria,
principally, a specified annual family income.
Dr. Anthony explained the project will result in the establishment of a facility
made up of grant resources from the European Union and supported by loans from
financial institutions. The grant will contribute to land purchase and various
services and fees linked to the purchase and construction of homes.
According to Dr. Anthony, priority will be given to loans for land and to meet
the payment of fees related to the construction of low-income housing. The
contribution from participating financial institutions will be made as a loan to
the final borrower and will be subject to the internal regulations and
conditions of the lending institution. The facility will enable low-income
households in rural areas to become house and land owners, eventually leading to
the improvement and/or construction of about 500 houses.
Dr. Anthony said “For low-income persons who already have land, the government
will provide a Grant Support of 10 per cent of the loan up to a maximum of
EC$10,000.00 per borrower. The grant may be used, in order of priority, for the
payment of the cost of house design, legal and registration fees, retrofitting,
payment of yearly insurance premium and partial financing of the acquisition of
the land. Again, I wish to emphasize that the Facility establishes a maximum
grant of $10,000.00 per borrower. For those persons who do not have land, the
Government will provide Grant Support of 20 per cent of the loan up to a maximum
of $20,000.00 per borrower. The grant may be used to partially finance the
purchase of land, up to a maximum of $10,000.00 per borrower. The additional
$10,000.00 may be used to facilitate, in order of priority, the payment of the
cost of house design, legal fees, retrofitting equipment and the payment of
yearly insurance premiums attributed to the building of a house.”
The Government of Saint Lucia has allocated $7.6 million towards this housing
credit facility. In this fiscal year, $2.0 million will be utilised and the
grants and loans will be administered by approved banks, credit unions, the
National Research and Development Foundation, and the Saint Lucia Mortgage and
Finance Company. The list of banks and financial institutions participating in
this programme will be announced by the Office of the National Authorizing
Officer in a few days time.