Column: Increase Affordable Housing Availability

February 16, 2022 | 1 Comment

Ianthia Simmons-Wade Bermuda Feb 2020[Opinion column written by PLP MP Ianthia Simmons-Wade]

The Progressive Labour Party has always stood for affordable housing for our people. In Bermuda’s economy it is easier said than done, but in all of our administrations we have been committed to securing more inventory to house our people.

The Loughlands in Paget has provided ownership opportunities for scores of Bermudians. It offers security, stability and the ability to gain equity in our housing market.

Perimeter Lane in Pembroke has provided families with rental units based on our geared to income rental model, where families’ rents are capped in consideration of their income.

In our 2020 election platform, the Government recognised that the cost of housing continues to remain a challenge in Bermuda. We pledged that we would work to continue to increase the stock of affordable housing throughout the island and make it easier for Bermudians to get on to the property ladder.

The Bermuda Housing Corporation currently has a number of housing initiatives underway and we can see the progress being made at Harmony Hall in Paget.

Harmony Hall will be an intergenerational community. It comprises of four residential buildings, A through D, the main building and Gate House. Currently blocks A & C are occupied by tenants, Block B is under renovation and Block D will also require renovation. Gate House is currently being utilized as emergency housing, and the main building’s use is yet to be determined.

An important aspect of this housing project is that it will be an intergenerational community with priority given to “seniors”, who are 55 years and older. Often times independent seniors may want to live alone but are unable to find affordable and safe properties and do not require the support of residential or nursing homes.

One benefit of this new housing project is the location. It is ideal as it is central, near grocery stores, churches, restaurants and two bus lines. It is also close enough to walk to Bermuda College to dine or take classes.

Living in an intergenerational community will increase social connectedness, social cohesion and civic participation. Tenants will enjoy robust fulfilling relationships together that will help to make this community feel like home.

In other housing news on the island, upgrades have recently been completed at the former Police Barracks providing 10 studio apartments in the Eastern end of the island. Two additional units were recently completed in the west end, and there are multiple ongoing projects to increase the housing inventory.

The Government has made an additional $1.6 million in funding available to the Bermuda Housing Corporation to provide 17 additional affordable housing units. Other projects such as Rock Oven Lane, Ripon Cottage and Old Military Road are also currently underway.

The Government is committed to continuing to increase the availability of affordable housing and all of these projects cumulatively will achieve this goal. Of course our Government will not solve the housing woes in one fell swoop, but we will continue to chip away at the problem so that our Bermudians can be housed with dignity.

These housing projects not only will provide housing for Bermudians of all ages and stages, but they also provide economic stimulus in a time where it is much needed. The critics may say that it isn’t enough housing for everyone, and that is undeniably true. However we can say with certainty that as we complete these projects, there will be more Bermudians housed in suitable and affordable housing than before.

- MP Ianthia Simmons-Wade

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  1. Unknown800k says:

    How the making out with making it liveable here
    How the making out with the debt other then getting out of control
    How’s the roads
    Why not talk about the real issues
    Ask your new finance minister

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