… 1 lucky applicant will win a low-income house lot on SundayThe Communities Ministry in collaboration with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) officially on Friday launched “Housing Solutions 2017 and Beyond” at Perseverance, East Bank Demerara.The housing expo is geared towards providing low- and moderate-income earners, along with State employees and youths, the opportunity to access affordable houses in a modern setting.Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CH&PA, Lelon Saul, underscored theAttendees at the Housing Solutions 2017 and Beyond launchimportance of the expo, noting that it provides options and helps the body to execute its mandate. “We are guided by Government policies which are in sync with our mandate to provide affordable housing for the working class. Our interest is not only in providing service lots but more importantly, creating safe, cohesive and sustainable communities,” he said.Minister with the responsibility for housing, Valerie Patterson said Housing Solutions focuses on the Government’s housing programme which seeks to improve the housing delivery system, especially to low-income earners.“The model village gives interested person a real life experience, you don’t have to use your imagination to see what your housing unit will look like; you can walk through the house and experience and interact with its design. You have a range of options from which to choose. The model village provides participating contractors a stage to showcase their products, designs, craftsmanship and newOne of the wooden duplex exhibits available for purchase after the expo closesbuilding technology. More importantly for us, it allows them an opportunity to partner with Government to make housing more affordable for Guyanese at a lower level of the economic scale,” Minister Patterson said.“God forbids that the asking prices for these houses should be prohibitive for the people we intended to reach, we reduced the cost of the house lots here in Perseverance for the model village. We reduced the prices from $500,000 to $300,000 for the low-income, $500,000 for the moderate-income and $700,000 for the middle-income. That was an attempt to assist the exhibitors to ensure that their prices at the end will be affordable,” she added.Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan said the occupancy rate of Government housing schemes developed over the past 20 years has plummeted below 20 per cent for the 38 housing schemes developed during the 2011-2014 period. He noted that those 38 schemes consumed more than 4200 acres of land, with an approximate investment of $13 billion and would require an additional $16 billion to complete the infrastructure. He added that that money is not available.“Land divestment is unaffordable for the State; this is why it is necessary for a higher density model to be pursued if we are to provide a higher model solution. Government buying itself will not achieve the success it wishes in the delivery of this housing solution, it will have to partner with the Private Sector in a robust open and transparent process,” the minister said.The CH&PA will be giving away a low-income house lot to a lucky applicant on Sunday night and encourages those who have applications in the system on or before December 31, 2016 to enter.