December 9, 2023

The Editor Speaks: When did the vision of NHDT become blurred?

Colin WilsonwebThe National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) is a not-for-profit government company incorporated on 29 September 2003.

“Our mission is to construct houses in planned communities and facilitate affordable home ownership for the Caymanian people through several financing options. We facilitate home ownership through two main programs:

Affordable Housing Initiatives (AHI) – The NHDT is a privately owned company of the Cayman Islands Government whose mandate is to assist low-income families in realizing their dreams of home ownership.

Government Guaranteed Home Assisted Mortgage (GGHAM) – The Cayman Islands Government, working with National Housing Development Trust and local private banks, are providing mortgages to Caymanians and Caymanian Status holders.

“The Mission of the National Housing Development Trust of the Cayman Islands (NHDT) is to construct and provide affordable homes in planned communities, offer easier financing opportunities and provide management system that adds security, value and ownership that imparts a sense of pride in hard working Caymanians that are placed in the low and middle income category.

“Similarly, the Vision of the National Housing Development Trust seeks to ensure:

Board of Directors’ Vision

Managements’ Mission

“The Management’s mission is to continue the NHDT as a non-profit organization focused on providing services to private individuals, local government, and developers in a professional manner.  Continue to manage the lease portfolio of the Trust and to offer counseling to clients as it becomes necessary.  To seek out additional funding for future development of low-income housing that have been identified as an imperative relationship with local contractors I the development of new homes for low-income persons in our community.  To ensure that the Government Guaranteed Home Assisted Mortgage Programme is managed in an efficient and prudent manner.

“Retention of competent, trained and highly motivated staff is seen as the cornerstone of the Trust’s core values. The Trust is established under a governance model, which includes a Board of Directors at the top, to whom the General Manager reports. The Trust is currently organized into a number of operating Units, each led by a Manager or Supervisor – all of whom report to the General Manager:

Mortgages & Housing coordination;

Property Management & Projects operations;

Administration & Finance.”

The above is taken currently from the website of the National Housing Development Trust.

Nowhere on the website does it state there has been a change in the NHDT vision.

The website states “affordable home ownership for the Caymanian people through several financing options”.

It lists TWO programmes. Both are for Caymanians to “realise their dreams of home ownership” through the NHDT and the other is to provide home assisted mortgages through the GGHAM.

Now we learn that the vision of the NHDT has developed cataracts. Persons who have signed up to the programme and paying rent each month for the homes they are living in are exactly that. Rental. The houses are rent only. They will never be the occupiers.

What a shock.

NHDT General Manager Julio Ramos has confirmed that no new occupiers will be able to own the houses that will be living in. He said this policy was changed a few years ago by the previous government because the homes were costing more that $100,000 to construct.

Fair enough. One can change one’s policy but it does not say that on the NHDT website. There is no mention of a policy change. The vision message has not changed.

Ramos’ statement that the National Development Housing Trust says it is ‘carrying out its mandate and putting a roof over the heads of those who need it’ is only half correct. The vision has just not been blurred – it’s gone. The mandate has completely changed.

But no one has bothered to change the website to reflect this.

Government gave nearly one million dollars to the NHDT in the budget last financial year as an “equity injection”.

There was also more than $600,000 for the purchase agreement for the homes and a bond facility for $2 million to pay back the loan to build the homes.

Ramos admitted this was to refund the infrastructure so the NHDT could continue to develop.

I have to point out again. No one has said the mandate has been changed resulting in extreme blurred vision.





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