MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT HOME OWNERSHIP INITIATIVE BENEFITS OVER TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND HOUSEHOLDS
14 February, 2020 Suva, Fiji – Since the launch of the Home Ownership Initiative in 2014 - 2,551 households have benefited from the initiative and $22.7 million worth of grants have been given out.
Four hundred and fifty households have benefited from the Home Ownership Initiative in the first six months of this financial year (2019/2020) representing $4.9 million against a budget of $5.5 million.
Of this 66 applicants have benefited from the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) Mataqali scheme with a payout of $990,000. The scheme was launched as an extension of the Home Ownership program in 2018.
Making the announcement the Hon. Minister for Trade, Industry, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Premila Kumar said, these programs were well in line with the Governments objective to provide adequate and increasing home ownership for those in need. “The grant for the Home Ownership program for the 2019/20 budget has been fully utilized due to the overwhelming response and number of applications for assistance under the program,” the Hon. Minister said. She added that all successful applications were currently being processed and those who were unsuccessful could reapply in the next budget cycle for 2020/2021.
“The response to our Home Ownership Initiative has been overwhelming and in the last few years we have seen an increase in demand, and people who aspire to purchase or build a new home have been able to do so under our programs,” the Hon. Minister said. “We do feel proud that we have helped those who have been successful in fulfilling their own dreams and aspirations to provide a decent home for their families.”
“Through our Home Ownership Initiative and other programs, we have also been able to assist the neediest in our community who qualify for assistance,” the Hon. Minister added.
The First Home Ownership Initiative was established in 2014. This initiative is directly managed by the Ministry of Housing and Community Development. Under the program, households with an annual income of less than $50,000 are entitled to receive a $15,000 grant to build their home or $10,000 to purchase their first home. In the 2018/19 financial year this assistance was extended to those with an annual household income threshold of $50,000 - $100,000 and the entitlement is for $10,000 for construction and $5,000 for the purchase of their first home. The First Land Purchase program was introduced in the 2018/19 budget. Those with an annual household income of $50,000 and below qualify for this assistance to purchase their land through ITLTB and the Ministry of Lands. The maximum grant assistance in $10,000 and to date 387 applicants has been assisted with a total of $3.8 million under this program. Successful applicants must meet all requirements as laid out in a strict criteria and the final selection is made by a committee that includes representation from the Ministry of Housing and Community Development, Ministry of Economy and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service.
The Hon. Minister that said it was also important to highlight milestones in the housing sector and in particular since the establishment of the Ministry of Housing and Community Development in 2018. The Hon. Minister said that Governments commitment to the housing sector was underscored by the progress made and partnerships forged with other stakeholders including both Government and Civil Society in the last two years.
“The Ministry of Housing and Community Development has acquired 43 Development leases that are earmarked for development Under the Informal Settlement Upgrading program (ISUP),” the Hon. Minister said. “Under this program three projects are earmarked for completion in 2020 including Ledrusasa in Nadi, Waidamudamu in Nakasi and Cuvu in Sigatoka with a total development value of over $12 million and this will benefit 450 families,” the Hon. Minister said.
The Hon. Minister concluded that with all programs under a dedicated Ministry provided a one-stop shop for applicants who required assistance with their housing needs.
The Ministry of Housing and Community Development was established in August 2018 as a separate Ministry with the responsibility of managing multiple programs under the Housing Assistance Program, Informal Settlement Upgrading Program (ISUP) and the Social Housing
Assistance Program (Public Rental Board, Housing Authority, Rural Housing Assistance). The Ministry is also working closely with other stakeholders on various projects including UN Habitat in the implementation of the UN Adaptation Fund program, the Revitalizing Informal Settlements and Environments (RISE) co-funded by the New Zealand Government and managed by Monash University and Habitat for Humanity for its Housing Access and Upgrades for persons with disabilities.
For further information please contact:
Mr Sanjeeva Perera
Ministry of Housing and Community Development
Tel: 3304 364