WARSOP, Trelawny — Members of four distressed families whose old dilapidated houses have been leaking profusely, were last week handed keys to new concrete units by the charity organisation Food For the Poor (FFP).
South Trelawny MP Dalrymple Philibert who made representation on behalf of the families and Food for the Poor project officer, Nick Ziadie, said the four houses are samples of 1,200 to be constructed annually for low income earners over the next five years.
That project announced by prime minister Portia Simpson Miller during the 2012/13 Budget Debate will be a collaborative effort involving Food for the Poor, the Ministry of Housing, and the National Housing Trust (NHT).
Ziadie said the Warsop project which is similar to another in Portland Cottage, Clarendon will assist in assessing the construction cost for each of the 6000 houses to be constructed free of cost to "poor Jamaicans" over the five-year period.
"We are now partnering with the Government to do 50 concrete houses a month, that should be kicking off real soon. We wanted to know exactly how much it would cost to build these houses and we selected Portland Cottage (Clarendon), and (Warsop) Trelawny to build those models. So what we are seeing is the four we built in Trelawny," Zadie revealed. He noted that the concrete houses are of similar design "as the wood structure that we do".
The Warsop houses, constructed on lands owned by the recipients, are 352 square feet in size with a bathroom, verandah and enough space to be partitioned into two bedrooms and a kitchen. Each house owner was also provided with a septic tank and a plastic water tank.
Dalrymple Philibert who expressed gratitude to the Government and Food For the Poor on behalf of the four families, said she would be supplying them with furniture and food items ahead of an official handing over ceremony to be held before Christmas.
"We are extremely proud and extremely thankful to the Food For the Poor organisation and also the initiative that was introduced by the Prime Minister herself in her budget presentation," the southern Trelawny parliamentary representative said, adding that she was particularly pleased that the houses have proper sanitary conveniences.
Deputy Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager, who is councillor for the Warsop Division, was overjoyed.
"I am a proud councillor today..." he said. "The recipients are well in need of houses because you can see coming from and indeed this is a glorious day for them. It is best Christmas gift for them," he added.
But his expressions of joy were dwarfed by those from the recipients.
Paulette Brissett, who like her 14-year-old daughter is disabled - unable to walk - did not verbally convey her gratitude but it was etched all over her smiling face as she sat in a rickety structure, used as a kitchen, during the handing over of the keys which took place during a persistent drizzle.
Minette Whitter, affectionately called Miss Netty, who lives with four of her children, was also overjoyed upon receiving the keys to the opportunity to walk out of her "deplorable leaking house".
"I am thanking God for this gift. It is very timely because I am getting wet when it rains. I have to set containers to catch water when it rains," she said.
Similar sentiments were asserted by Ransford Napier.
"I feel thankful for this gift. Thank Miss Dalrymple and Food for the Poor for helping out a lot. We have a nice house with bathroom, tank septic tank everything," Napier who noted that his house was "mashed down" said.
Ralph Napier, who is also called Pusey, was equally appreciative.
Dalrymple Philibert told the Observer West that four wooden units, patterned off the four completed concrete ones are currently under construction for other needy residents of the community.