'Slum programme' far advanced
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing is reporting that work under Phase Two of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP 2) is far advanced.
Director of housing policy in the
ministry Paula Parkes said that "significant work" had been done in realising three of the six expected outputs.
These include the Citywide Slum Situational Analysis, the Policy and Regulatory Review, and the Citywide Slum Upgrading Strategy.
The other outputs are adaptation of the international guidelines on decentrali-sation and access to basic services for all; a resource mobilisation report; and development of project concept notes.
The PSUP is a regional programme of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), which involves collaboration with the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and which is financed by the European Commission. Jamaica is one of five countries in the Caribbean where the programme is being implemented.
The second phase aims to empower national, city, and community representatives, as well as planning authorities, to address the needs of slum dwellers.
Building upon the good-governance principle of participation, it also seeks to include the slum population directly in designing slum-upgrading programmes in the three informal settlements selected under the first phase of the project.
According to Parkes, the findings of the programme will be used to inform the Government's draft National Housing Policy (NHP), which has as its main objective the provision of adequate, affordable legal housing to all Jamaicans by 2030.
"The ministry will be looking to develop a squatter policy outside of the National Housing Policy, however, the national policy will give some recommendations as it relates to the development and improvement of informal settlements that would fit within PSUP," she explained.
Among the areas to be addressed is rural-urban migration.
"PSUP is looking at the urban challenges because ... it is difficult for the city to keep up with the services that are required to be delivered to persons that are moving from the rural areas to the urban areas to have a better quality of life," Parkes pointed out.