The Housing Authority of Grenada (HAG) is seeking to recover $4.9 million in outstanding arrears of which $2.2 million is owed by occupants under Phase One of the Chinese low-income housing project, comprising 353 units, which were gifted to the former Keith Mitchell administration in August 2012.
HAG officials told reporters at a press conference in St. George’s last week Friday about the extent of the level of delinquency by residents at the Frequente, Soubise, and Mt. Gay housing sites.
The Housing Authority has conducted a comprehensive assessment of all three (3) housing sites as residents there grapple with nightmarish challenges threatening their safety, including mold infestation, electrical problems, roof leaks, flaking paint, and rotten rails, to name a few.
However, Accountant at GHA Gicel Charles said that the path to salvation is through debt collection.
“We are aware of the work that needs to be done in the housing units but the work cannot be done, unless we collect on the amounts that are owing,” Charles told reporters.
To get residents to service their payments, which should have been paid every month, Charles said “a second demand letter” was poised to be unleashed upon the delinquent residents this week.
“If you are a part of a housing unit that is run, and managed by the Housing Authority of Grenada, this is another plea for you to reach out to us to make arrangements to service those outstanding payments,” she said.
Charles offered a glimmer of hope to the occupants noting that no punitive measures or fees would befall the tardy payers but was quick to add that a “final demand notice” will be sent out to them.
“…We hope that it does not get to sending a final demand notice,” said Charles, who was flanked by Housing Minister Philip Telesford, and other colleagues during the press briefing.
Minister Telesford attributed the dire housing situation on the island to negligence on the part of those who were previously tasked to maintain the buildings.
He noted that HAG’s comprehensive assessment “clearly demonstrated…that those who were charged with the responsibility of exercising good governance, and the stewardship of the Housing Authority failed miserably at their jobs.”
The senior government minister pledged the government’s commitment to the Board of the Housing Authority of Grenada to get the repairs done to the homes that are in bad shape.
According to the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at the Housing Authority Mark Paul, it is estimated that “$2, 209, 702” will be required to repair the housing units across the three sites.
Paul said they “are in the stage of preparing the scope of works and tendering,” with repair work expected to commence in October.