Some of the houses built under the CH&PA programmePresident David Granger, on Friday morning, visited the Prospect and Perseverance Housing Developments, East Bank Demerara, for the first time. There, he said that improving the quality of life for Guyanese means improving housing plans.The visit was intended for the head of state to have a firsthand look at the construction work of several homes that the Government has built for low and middle income workers. According to the President, although many persons are interested in securing land to build their homes, a complete package — a house that has already been built with the plot of land — propels the idea and goal of community development across the country.“In Guyana, we have adopted a holistic approach to housing, not just give you a house lot and forget about you like a hit-and-run driver. We want to make sure that when an area is provided on which you would live, we develop that house, so that we build a community of human buildings… We want to see roads, electricity, we want to see schools eventually, we want to see sports facilities…we must not give people a piece of land and grass and gutters,” the Head of State said.He added that the Government’s housing policy is not “haphazard”, and that there should be focus on low income earners so that they can benefit from owning their own homes sooner, rather than later.President Granger explained that such a move would not only ensure that community development takes place throughout the country, but also provides opportunities for employment. However, he noted that more steps must be taken to help persons obtain financial assistance in paying for these homes.“Our working people still have a problem of getting credit. And I would like to encourage bankers to create windows, friendly windows, so that working people can borrow money on friendly terms… And I am glad that the Guyana Defence Force has a credit union, and one of the houses that I saw there (at Prospect) was financed and supported by that credit union. So we need to look at the financing side to ensure that working people could get access to finance to pay for those houses over a long period of time.”Government had paused the distribution of lands, and had instead embarked on an initiative which forced Guyanese into buying houses.This publication understands that not many persons are comfortable with the idea of purchasing the houses, as they prefer to oversee the construction process of their own homes for various reasons.In May it was reported that the distribution of house lots has reduced significantly since the change of Government in 2015, despite the fact that the demand has not decreased.This is evident in the 2017 Annual Report of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) which was recently laid in the National Assembly. The report shows that a total of only 1131 house lots were allocated in that year for qualified applicants. In fact, the report states that the original target of allocations for that year was merely 1000.This does not compare favourably with the previous year, when, according to the report, 2020 house lots were allocated in 2016 — an improvement on its original target of 1100. This includes 625 low to moderate income house lots and 1395 middle to high-income house lots.But both of these years’ figures pale in comparison to the number of house lots distributed in previous years under the former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration. In the CH&PA’s 2013 Annual Report, its programme performance assessment had indicated that 4417 house lots were allocated, just shy of the 5900 target.Under the previous Administration, over 100,000 house lots were distributed and over 200 core houses were made available to underprivileged families, while a programme for professional groups provided 200 teachers, nurses and Policemen with fast-track access to loans for home construction.There is also the 1000 Homes Project that was launched in June of 2013 by the CH&PA to expand the Ministry’s Turn-Key Houses’ programme, which was recommenced in 2011.Construction began in May of 2014, and by December of 2014, one hundred Buttercup Cottages were completed. Apart from the houses themselves, this project provided employment opportunities for over 300 skilled and semi-skilled workers in the construction industry.Now it is understood that there are approximately 25,000 applications still piled up at the CH&PA’s office.In an interview earlier this year, the agency’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lelon Saul, had said that at least 5000 solutions are required annually for the next five years to reduce the backlog.