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One of the recipients of the Housing and Village Improvement Programme Dinelle Scott-Cobham, center takes a selfie with Minister of Housing and Urban Development Pennelope Beckles left and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi,held at City Hall, San Fernando.

The impoverished Marabella Trainline district is notorious for gunrunners and the drug trade, but 21 families have been given an opportunity to build a new community.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development officially handed over the keys to low-cost housing to low-income families through its Housing and Village Improvement Programme (HVIP), at a ceremony held at the San Fernando City Hall Auditorium, Harris Promenade, San Fernando, Wednesday.

The programme aims to improve the housing conditions and community facilities for residents in rural and peri-urban areas. It uses an aided self-help approach and the Ministry provides pre-approved house plans and a subsidy to successful beneficiaries for the purchase of construction materials and payment towards labour cost.

Under the HVIP Programme, an aided self-help approach is utilised, in which recipients provide sweat equity and the finishing touches to their homes, while small contractors from within the communities are contracted, in order to keep construction costs down to approximately $120,000 per unit.

The units are built with an open design concept and include the roof, doors, windows and indoor bathroom facilities.

The targeted areas included Embacadere and Navet in San Fernando, Bayshore in Marabella and Moruga.

The Minister told recipients that, “this legacy programme was developed by the Ministry in 2018 and can now boast of being in its fourth phase.

To date, it has positively impacted the lives of approximately 246 families across 14 communities and has created employment opportunities for some 1,140 individuals.”

She added that, “the Housing and Village Improvement Programme continues to provide suitable and affordable housing for deserving recipients; and creates employment opportunities which contribute to the national economy”.