80 Tobago families get $3.2m in housing grants

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis –

Eighty Tobago families have received $3.19 million in grants for either home improvement or a home construction.

The distribution was done courtesy the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development under the Programme Monitoring, Co-ordinating and Evaluation Unit, as they hosted an affordable housing subsidy distribution on July 9 at the Shaw Park Complex.

Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, addressing the recipients, said the distribution is a celebration of the transformative power of the affordable subsidy programme. This programme, she said, is a testament to her government’s unwavering dedication to the people.

“With $3.19 million, as recommended in this programme – $1.85 million for home construction subsidies and $1.36 million for home improvement subsidies – we are not today distributing merely subsidies, but we are sowing seeds of empowerment.”

She said for the fiscal year, her ministry has so far issued 105 disbursements in Tobago – “80 recipients of whom are here with us today: 68 were home improvement subsidies and 37 home construction subsidies.”

She said in 2023, 25 disbursements were done in Tobago, as she boasted that the figure has since moved to 105.

“A 400 per cent increase” in 2024.

The total number of disbursements for Tobago since 2021 is 232, valued at $7.85 million.

“These programmes directly address the needs of the most vulnerable families ensuring that regardless of location, every Trinidadian and Tobagonian has the opportunity for a brighter future. The impact of these subsidies extends beyond the individual homes.”

She added: “This programme generates economic activities that will undoubtedly invigorate Tobago’s entrepreneurial spirit. As we have seen everywhere, once these subsidies are disbursed, small contractors gain employment, hardware stores see a boost in sales and there is a renewed sense of vibrancy that takes root in our communities. When others see their friends and neighbours improving their homes and living conditions, we are trusting that other people will apply for these subsidies.”

She urged the recipients to use the funds wisely.

“The funds provided must be used strictly for the agreed-upon repair and construction works. Open communication is key – if there is a need to change the scope of the project, contacting the ministry before embarking on any unauthorised work is essential. Misuse or delay in the proper use of these funds could also result in the ministry requesting repayment. To ensure transparency and successful completion of projects, each beneficiary will be in receipt of an agreement outlining the scope of the agreed-upon repair works, and you will be required to save original bills.”

Minister in the ministry Adrian Leonce said this initiative stands as a testament of the ministry’s commitment to fairness, transparency and equity.

“Our approach has always been rooted in fairness and thoroughness, ensuring that every beneficiary truly deserves the support they receive. Each step of the process is designed to approve these principles starting with the careful selection of beneficiaries through comprehensive interviews and assessments.”

MP for Tobago East Ayanna Webster-Roy and Tobago West Shamfa Lewis-Cudjoe, former THA secretary of housing Clarence Jacob and the division’s current administrator Shelly Trim were also present.