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Revamped NIA Homeowners’ Package Almost Ready by Merv-Ann Thompson

Minister responsible for Lands and Housing, Hon. Alexis Jeffers says the Nevis Island Administration will soon launch a new homeowners package for persons paying for government built houses. According to Jeffers, the existing package is presently being “revamped”. He told The Observer the details of the new package will soon be revealed via press release so he could not give any more information at the time. During its campaign leading up to the 2013 local elections the Concerned Citizens Movement lobbied for the creation of a homeowners’ package for persons who own homes in Nevis, especially those in the Cherry Garden Housing Development. Fourteen months after taking office, the CCM-led NIA says the package is semi-ready. The Observer understands that under the conditions of the new package some persons would first be allowed the opportunity to ‘test’the arrangement to have an idea of what it is about and how it would function. It was also said that homeowners would see reduced monthly payments, which the CCM claimed were unaffordable under the former NRP administration. It is not known if the 10-year grace period on interest payments would be affected by the reduced monthly instalments. In the 2014 Budget Address delivered by Premier Vance Amory, he spoke of the homeowners’ loan arrears at the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation. “I must mention that the NHLDC inherited a number of delinquent loans which is a cause for concern. Presently, the arrears for land, leases and houses total $0.89 million. Of note, there are 75 persons paying for homes through the Corporation at a total portfolio of $12.25 million, of which 29 are delinquent with arrears of $695,606.62,”he revealed. Hon. Amory also told of expenses incurred by the NHLDC to repair damages to the homes in excess of $22,030. In addition, a lawsuit was registered in the High Court in August 2013, where the claimant sought damages in the amount of $177,187. Despite those challenges he said, “We will continue to give priority to this important sub-sector to improve the housing stock on the island and to empower our people to become homeowners.”

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