The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will build one-bedroom, self-contained wooden apartment for “poor, economically disadvantaged, or indigent persons with striking mental or physical disabilities”.
“These houses will be one-bedroom self-contained apartments: bedroom, bath and toilet, kitchenette, dining area and living room,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press briefing this week.
“They will have a wall (concrete) base and plywood superstructure. Plumbing and electrical wiring, with galvanise roof. The approximate cost will be about 27,000 dollars each. We expect these will be built on existing family lands,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.
Gonsalves said there are a number of elderly Vincentians who have had amputations of their limbs (sometime both legs) as a result of diabetes, or who, from birth, had a physical or mental challenge.
“… some of them are integrated in families, but some families keep them as though they are in the shadows,” he said.
He said a wooden house, well cared for, can last 20 years.
“I do a hundred first, then I do a second hundred, the Ministry of Social Development is working with the Ministry of Housing giving the whole list of names,” he said.
Gonsalves said the government had taken note of the needs of these persons, under its “Lives to Live” programme, which was conducted in conjunction with Cuba.
Late former president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez was interested in providing some money, “but then he got sick, died and that went on the backburner,” Gonsalves said.
“But we have to do things for ourselves; put up the little ramp on these houses, build them across the country,” he said, adding that Jamaican firm, Tankwell, which has offered the government building material on credit in the past, is also willing to supply material under similar arrangements for the project.
The government is currently building houses for victims of the Christmas Eve disaster, which left extensive damage to the housing stock in some areas of the country.