PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Housing and Spatial planning Angel Meyers informed members of the media that he recently met with the new board and management of the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF). The Minister said this year 2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of the foundation and he had several meetings with the foundation to find ways on moving forward in order for them to provide affordable social homes to the people of St. Maarten. He also said over the years there were some lessons to be learned while there was also some negative publicity regarding the foundation. “Right now there is a new management in place and we as government are looking at ways in assisting the foundation in moving forward, one being subsidies, while the Ministry of VROMI is assisting the foundation in providing policies. The subsidies will be used to assist renters that have low income to pay their monthly rent. Government will also provide more property for SMHDF to further develop.”
Minister Meyers described the meetings as fruitful while he said that the foundation laid out their plans for the future to him during their meetings. Minister Meyers said he was highly impressed with the work done on two homes that are currently being sold to tenants. “I am impressed with the construction work and finishing of these homes most of all I am impressed at the price at which they are being sold.” The Minister further added that the SMHDF will be constructing six other homes which will be sold to tenants, while the FOGA housing development in Sucker Garden will be transferred to SMHDF for them to manage the operations of that project. One of the goals is to have the tenants on a lease to purchase contract. He said that these tenants will have to make a 5% deposit on the homes while the balance of the monies can be obtained through a loan at a bank of their choice.
Minister Meyers said the new management and board also have plans to repair the homes that are in deplorable conditions. Homes that are to be repaired are those located Anna Hope Estate Road and Belvedere main road, while while the profits derived from the sale of the homes will be invested in building more homes for seniors.. Another project the SMHDF is working on is the beautification of the entrance to Belvedere.
The Minister is also looking to assist to prepare a structural maintenance program so that the homes will remain in proper conditions. The Minister said due to limited funds these projects will be done in phases.