Briceno Administration Allocates $5M for Low-Income Housing

Briceno Administration Allocates $5M for Low-Income Housing

The Briceno Administration is allocating five million dollars for low-income homes and housing repairs; but will it be enough to accomplish its manifesto promise? In 2020, the People’s United Party pledged to construct ten thousand starter homes in five years but has only gotten around to building 400 houses in the past three years. While the new budget for the project is a significant amount of money, Minister of Infrastructure Development and House Julius Espat says it’s a drop in the bucket to what is needed to provide homes to as many Belizeans as possible. 

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “One house at a time. I am happy that we get five, it’s not six, five but it’s only five of $1.5 billion. So it’s minimal in comparison to the national budget. I believe it should be more. I have been lobbying for more, we have not gotten an increase for more. But we have been able to build in the last three years over four hundred houses so it’s four hundred needy people of this country that is being given an opportunity to better their lives. I lobby every day. I lobby every Tuesday in Cabinet and I will continue doing so. The last lobbying was done with the Taiwanese Government who accepted and gave us an opportunity to build fifty houses in Belmopan, that is separate from the budget, that was a grant given to us and so we are now looking at the Qatar fun, we sent request to the Saudi fund, we are looking at all possible funds to be able to help the social program. I personally believe it’s an awesome program because – and of course I’m biased but I’ve seen personally the reaction of people and how it changes their lives and I will continue lobbying for more.”

Espat goes on to say that the distribution of homes is how the government provides a basic need for citizens and families.

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “To me it’s insignificant compared to the benefits. Human rights people say you need water is human rights, I believe shelter is human rights too. We have to have shelter above our heads. Why am I saying this ? We are looking at crime and if you don’t have a house, if you don’t have a home then you start cultivating illegal actions, you start doing many things so what the house does for you it gives you stability. Psychologically it allows you to do more. I remember the Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde in Cabinet and I think he has said it publicly is that when his mother was able to get a house from the Government of Belize at the time it changed his life, his brother’s life and his family’s life. It gave them hope. It made them want to study more, it gave the mom an opportunity to invest in other things, education, health and I believe it’s a tangible benefit that the Belizean people deserve and if I can do more I will.”

The five million dollars for the Ministry of Housing will be debated next week in the annual budget debate

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