Donate a house
By CECILY ASSON Wednesday, October 31 2012
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HELPING HAND: Adeline Adams (left) of Couva receives a home repair cheque from Local Government Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan, while at centre, National...
WITH POVERTY still a major issue in this country, Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan is calling on wealthy Trinbagonians and corporate TT to get involved and donate a house to someone who is destitute and homeless.
The average cost of material to build “a simple” 27 by 21, two-bedroom house, with electricity, running water and flush toilet is $75,000. Labour cost alone is $25,000. Rambachan made the appeal yesterday at a function at the office of the National Self Help Commission in San Fernando to distribute emergency funding cheques to 49 families whose homes are in need of repairs.
“There is a lot of poverty still in Trinidad and Tobago and we must not run away from this reality. We must confront it and if we do so, we will be more empowered to do something proactive about poverty rather than only pay lip service. We hope to encourage persons in communities that have the money to donate towards providing houses,” Rambachan said. Rambachan said he has already initiated talks with large and small organisations as he pushes on for homes for the poor. “It will be a very good way for the corporate community to give back to society.”
He said he is already involved in talks with organisations to see if “they will be able to mobilise their employees who might want to get together and donate one such house to family or individual in the country.”
The Self Help Commission has been given $40 million for the fiscal year to build homes, Rambachan said and has a mandate to build 100 houses per year over the next three years for those who cannot afford to do so. “It must be our duty to lift the lives of the most unfortunate among us,” Rambachan said.
According to Rambachan construction on three such homes will begin next week and will soon be handed over to three mothers, one with differently-abled children, one who is physically challenged and the other who is a single parent.
Rambachan said that persons in need of homes will be put through a rigorous screening process before they can be accepted into the programme. Assessment forms are now available at the offices of Members of Parliament and councillors.
Yesterday, 49 recipients of the Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Repair Assistance Grants received cheques valued at, between $10,000 and $15,000. In urging recipients to use the cheques to repair their homes, Rambachan warned that rigid checks and balances have been instituted to prevent fraud between homeowners and hardware dealers.