The strategic direction of the Central Housing and Planning Agency (CH&PA) for the year 2017 is expected to embrace the notion of creating livable and wholesome communities in Guyana.
This is according to Minister with responsibility for Housing Valerie Patterson.
The politician said that in keeping with the proposed line of direction, one of the primary measures that will be adopted in the medium term is enhancing collaboration with Local Democratic Organs (LDOs) and public participation in the housing and community development process.
To achieve the longstanding goals of expanding the supply of housing, improving affordability and ensuring access to housing and infrastructure to poor families, Patterson said that actionable policy recommendations will be realized through the development of a National Housing Strategy.
She said that the thrust to give prominence to planning, awareness and renewed interest at national, regional and local levels is critical to the work of the CH&PA.
In this regard, she said that a National Planning Forum will be held during the first quarter of the new year with major stakeholders, to initiate dialogue and action to enhance the current fragmented planning framework.
Also, as mandated under the Town and Country Planning Act, Patterson said that the CH&PA will initiate and support the preparation of development schemes in collaboration with the LDOs and other key stakeholders to set out objectives and policies to guide the growth and development of communities, whether urban, rural, regional, or other areas.
Patterson said that this process will give clout to the enforcement aspect as the planning control activities. In this regard, she said that the enforcement arm of the CH&PA will be strengthened with the recruitment of additional enforcement officers to boost the agency’s planning function.
She said that there will also be the consolidation of selected existing housing areas and regularized squatting areas and focusing primarily on the development of low income settlements.
“The consolidation of areas will not only focus on investment in physical infrastructure, but revitalization programmes that include social services and community development projects in keeping with the commitment to create wholesome and cohesive communities,” Patterson said.
She added, “In view of the limited resources and the need to make informed decisions, the continued investment in the existing housing areas will be informed through current, comprehensive, accurate data and financial information for each housing area.”
The Junior Minister said that these proposals are part of the Government’s broader Medium Term Strategy that was presented to the Delegation of the Islamic Development Bank.
She explained that this strategy articulates a multi-pronged approach to ensure inclusivity, and consists of a number of components such as the supply of 10,000 housing units to eligible Guyanese between 2016 and 2021 and the expansion of the current Hinterland Housing Programme to other Indigenous communities and households.