The first phase of the Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility programme is currently ongoing in communities in Sophia, Greater Georgetown.
The programme is being implemented through the Central Housing and Planning Authority and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the tune of US$7.5M.
Some of the upgrade works include the construction of asphalt roads, concrete walkways and drains, access bridges, installation of street lights and a multipurpose community centre.
A total of $857 million worth in constructions are currently ongoing. This was revealed during a media tour of the construction sites on Friday.
“Basically what we are doing is upgrading approximately 12km of roads to asphaltic and concrete, and we will be doing concrete drains, two playfields will be upgraded. Additionally, 2000 persons will benefit from home improvement subsidy and 100 core houses will be built,” Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority, Lelon Saul said.
The Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility programme also caters for the construction of low-income houses for single families and families living in derelict houses.
The programme also provides subsidies for the improvement of homes and housing schemes.
Deputy Director for Community Development, Donell Bess-Bascom said 50 core houses will begin construction this year, while 300 home improvement subsidies will be distributed.
“To date for the Sophia area, we have completed a total of 456 house to house verification visits for improvement and 87 house to house visits for core homes, these are the persons who would have deemed eligible after the application period,” the Deputy Director said.
While the community is benefitting from infrastructural upgrades, 30% of residents in Sophia will be employed and hardware suppliers in the community will provide materials for the construction of the core houses.
The Deputy Director noted, “Another part of the project I think is important to emphasize is the extensive community participation, we are meeting on a monthly basis with community leaders to update them on the progress of the project, they have an opportunity to engage with the contractors and have their concerns addressed.”
City Hall Councillor and a community representative, Clayton Hinds said the residents are satisfied with being included in the ongoing works.
“The people in this block of land will sing the halleluiah chorus, they will celebrate this project, because never before the developmental needs [and] infrastructural needs that were supposed to have been put in place to make sure that the people can benefit, was not in place,” Hinds said.
A number of environmental social management plans are also being implemented.
Sunil Gopaul, Environment and Social Safeguard Coordinator said traffic management plans, access management plans, waste management plans, emergency preparedness and response plan were all implemented to minimize the impacts of the constructions.
Residents are also being notified before any construction work commences. The contractors said that the project is on schedule and is expected to be completed by March 2020.