Housing conference to shape gov't policy
SECRETARY GENERAL of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions Joseph Bailey is projecting that the staging of a regional housing conference will assist regional governments to shape policy that will result in using the provision of housing as a means for economic development.
The two-day conference will be held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, from October 6-7, under the theme 'Transforming Regional Communities through Housing and Economic Development'. It is anticipated that representatives from the association's 12-member countries in the region and other territories will attend the event.
Key partners in the hosting of the historic assembly will include the Jamaica National Building Society, the National Housing Trust, the Victoria Mutual Building Society, and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Dr Omar Davies will deliver the keynote address. The conference will include presentations on: Latin American & Caribbean housing ass-essment; housing affordability and contributory factors; private/public partnership in housing and climate change - implications for sustainable development.
Putting the conference in perspective, Bailey said, "In many jurisdictions, governments are taking a new look at the role housing can play in growing their gross domestic product and, at this regional housing forum, we want to send a message to the leadership of our member countries that housing should be given a full place in economic development, with renewed investment in the sector.
He maintained that housing has the potential to transform cities, and expansion of the sector should be taken seriously, as the records show that housing was the main contributor to the revitalisation generation of many cities worldwide. A new thought in some major cities is the development of housing covenants which seeks to reward effort through improved housing offers. Greater priority is placed on developing intermediate housing, that is, housing for those who cannot afford to access the private market, to rent and buy, but who do not qualify for social housing.
"When the housing sector thrives, cities improve because construction generates employment. When this happens, residents will seek to refurbish their homes; buildings in communities will be renovated; and this improves the overall ambience of the city," Bailey affirmed.