Column: Chris Famous On Housing & OBA

March 25, 2024 | 9 Comments

[Opinion column written by Chris Famous]

In 2022 I was asked to join the board of the Bermuda Housing Corporation. There I met persons dedicated to providing affordable housing for almost 800 Bermudian families of various stations in life.

For full disclosure, board members are paid $50 per month / Chairman $100 per month.

Over the course of the last 2 years we have been able to provide an additional 70 units for Bermudian Families. Some of those units include:

  • 10 units in St. David’s
  • 20 units in St. George’s
  • 2 units in Smith’s parish
  • 12 units in Paget
  • 1 unit in Somerset

Yet, with a growing population, there still remains a need for more affordable housing.


On February 23, 2024 the OBA released their 2024/25 Budget reply. This is what was stated on page 27 : “We also clearly support any and all initiatives to increase Bermuda’s affordable housing.”

On March 15th in the House of Assembly, all Government MPs present voted to fund $10 million towards more units for Bermudian families. All OBA MPs present chose to vote against the use of funds. No matter how they attempt to spin it in the media, that is how the vote is recorded.

That they cannot deny.

Yes you read correctly, on February 23rd Jarion Richardson said that they support “increasing Bermuda’s affordable housing”, yet, less than a month later on March 15th they voted against funds being used for the very same thing they claim that they support.

Their vote is not surprising as during their time in office, the OBA built a grand total of zero affordable housing units. Ironically, they support an increase in work permits. Yet, they seem to ignore that Bermudians need housing as well.

Thank you.

As a people focused party, this is where our philosophy differs vastly from that of Doug Decouto and Scott Pearman. Yes, we must balance our budget but we will never vote against helping persons in need.

As a government, our responsibility is to continue to provide affordable housing for Bermudians.

On a personal note, as someone from “a less than rich background”, when young Bermudians make contact looking for affordable housing, I am motivated even more to ensure funding is in place to create more units.

Thank you to the board and staff at BHC for all that they have done and continue to do for our fellow Bermudians.

- Thomas Christopher Famous

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Comments (9)

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  1. Double s says:

    “No matter how they attempt to spin it in the media, that is how the vote is recorded.”

    You are using funds in a manner that they are not intended for (i.e., the sinking fund). This sleight of hand is how the PLP is ‘balancing the budget.’

    There is a reason the author refused to provide comment on the Opposition’s articulated stance and instead wrote the nonsense above.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    So many outright lies again from Famous. Praising a balanced budget by using funds from the sinking fund? In the private sector that would cause instant dismissal. In the PLP world it is hailed as a financial success.

  3. Toodle-oo says:

    When is this guy going to stop digging the huge hole he’s got himself into ?

  4. CB2 says:

    Looks like you’re gearing up for an election. Pretty clear to see. How about focusing on stuff that actually matters? Like, how many Bermudians have bailed because they can’t afford a place to live? Okay, you’ve put up some new housing, cool. But is it actually suitable for a family of 4, or is it just for singles?

    And another thing, our population isn’t “growing.” It’s been on the decline since like 2007.

    Can we stop with the knee-jerk politics already? Everyone’s just tired of it.

    • PA says:

      I am not sure where Mr. Famous gets his informaton from, however, I get the impression that Mr Famous while blowing his own trumpet and as a consequence has been mislead.

      During my tenure and retree of the Bermuda Housing Corporation as a Mortgage Officer I and my associates were responsible for the construction and competion of 167 two apartment Standard Bermuda Houses that totals 334 units.
      The owner lived in one of the unit the other was rented by the corporation , there were no mortgage failures.
      In addition my associates who preceded me was responsible for and in excess of 250 two apartment houses that is another 500 units.

      In total we are looking at over 834 units to the point that the available pre owned debt free building sights ran out.

      All mortgages were subject to 1 % adnministraton fee no body works for free Mr Famous. No body !

      May I point out following an in house survey it was found the average cost of construction was $88. per square foot at that time ,using best practices and best quality materials with no short cuts ,with out exception every building was completed on time on budget under a strict legal contract subject to
      ” build and pay policy ” with no cost over runs using stage payments in accordance with Corporation policy and also subject to the housing act.

      Prefabs Condos and Rockaway came under a separate budget and internal department.

      The team of contractors and their staff we had working with us was with out doubt were exceptional.

      We all knew what we had to do and we did it .

      I ruined two un subsadised private cars visiting construction sights weekly .

      I am here to dismis the illusion of “Affordable Housing” as a political hood winked myth, or an impossible dream with out doubt Bermuda Construction , no sticks and stoned here has to withstand Hurricanes.

      Mr. Famous, as it is the hope of reward that sweetens labour every man is entitled to a days pay for a days work.

      I am sure that we have no choise and many will agree that our homes are to be designed and are required to be built with no short cuts and to with stand Hurricanes.

  5. Pa says:

    Hello Joe Bloggs

    Well sir, all it take its Fortitude and Guts an a willing to help others, including a few who slepped in the back seat of their cars the night before.

    We bust our rear ends on that one.

    I never turned any one who walked in away, working with people is not easy.

    My greatest Joy was to phone an applicant to inform them .”we made it ,we succeeded in obtaining your mortgage and we are going to build your home.

    I could hear on occasion the tears of joy coming over the back ground.

    Mr. Bloggs can you ever imagine that, just for one moment, we could help people who cold not help them selves building homes to key in the door is a monumental task.

    I was employed by the Bermuda Housing Corporation for 17 years after which,I had no alternative but to retire that hurt ,as I coud have easily given them another 5 years and Mr. Bloggs I enjoyed every minute of it with a deep sense of acomplishment.

    I walked into that position after having 20 year in the Real Estate and Mortage banking business on my first day I sat at my desk and got on with it .

    With my experience in bulding ,it was a piece of cake.

    I designed a build 14 luxury home before that .

    Mr. Bloggs it may surprise you to know that i am great admirer of period Bermuda Architecture, I gave Mr. Will Onions of O.B.M.a run for his money.

    ” When we build let it not be for present joy alone, let it be such work as our decendant would thank us for” .

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Pa, I did not mean to criticise you or your efforts on behalf of Bermudians.

      My comment was meant to be a tongue in cheek comparison between political commentary and “fact”, which these days (the world over) seem to be very different things.

  6. Pa says:

    A very pleasant good morning to you.

    I am not sure if Bernews program will be able print my response to you .

    I hope that they do !

    May I say that I did not take any exception to your comment ,at my age one has to read thing over many times and found no malace, neither was I looking for any.

    I also have no axe to grind with with Mr. Famous , never met the gentleman ,who, I see gives of his time to serve the community a very comendable gesture for sure.
    My previous here response needs some reflection on the work of the Bermuda Housing Corporation and the wonderfull work that they do .
    I often wonder how many people actually love the job that they do as much as I did the were many times i stayed pas 9.00 pm to process claims for friday pay day .

    Mo man went home Friday empty handed .

    ” It is the hope of reward that sweetens labor”.

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