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Norwood residents urged to partner with HAJ to get titles

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) is urging residents of Norwood in St James, to partner with the agency to get formal documentation for the property they occupy.

Managing Director of the HAJ, Gary Howell, says the agency is in possession of 1,200 to be issued, but due to outstanding payment on some properties, as well as the inability of the HAJ to locate some occupiers, it is unable to distribute the titles.

Howell was speaking at a community meeting in Norwood, St James, on Sunday.

He advised residents to make every effort to acquire their titles, in order to remove the stigma of being labelled a squatter.

“What we are here to ask of you residents is just to partner with us, to help us to get you to where you ought to be… to get your names on the titles and to get everything formalised, so nobody can say you are a squatter. Yes, you have your house here and you have lived here for many years, but you must have that piece of paper to show that you are the owner,” Howell emphasised.

He said that while significant strides have been made in issuing titles to property owners, there are still barriers impeding the HAJ's efforts to get every Jamaican in possession of titles to the land they own.

“We have been doing a lot of house-to-house visits. You may not have all the money to pay at once, but we have systems in place where you can pay incrementally,” Howell told the audience.

In that regard, he informed Norwood residents that the HAJ has forged a partnership with the National Housing Trust (NHT) to assist contributors to access mortgage benefits.

“It's not a big loan, so it's not going to be a significant payment for persons,” the managing director said.

He also asked residents who have knowledge of landowners that have died or migrated to inform the agency.

“One of the challenges that we also face in Norwood is that some persons that started out on the system some years ago, maybe 15 years, have migrated or gone away and we can't get in touch with them to complete the process. If you know that person or if you know that person has died, we want to know,” he advised.

In the meantime, the HAJ handed over a title to Norwood resident, Deloris Blackwood, at the close of the community meeting.

— JIS


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