A further $20 million will be pumped into the Help for Homes initiative, as part of the Fiji Government’s 2016-2017 National Budget.
The program was launched after TC Winston to provided discounted prices on hardware for homeowners wanting to rebuild their property themselves after the Category-5 tropical cyclone, and has already had $75.3 million uploaded onto electronics and distributed. This includes funding for over 450 applications for refunds received this financial year.
A sum of $1 million has been budgeted towards operating grants to subsidize the rental obligations of disadvantaged tenants in Public Rental Board (PRB) divisions.
Under the Government’s squatter upgrading and resettlement program, $2.1 million will go towards the completion of civil construction at Omkar, Cuvu, Sasawira, Namara, Lakena Hill No.1, Caubatu and Ledrusasa.
The National Budget Supplement confirmed that around 278 households are expected to benefit from these projects upon completion.
As for the PRB Simla Development Project, $2.6 million has been set aside for the construction of 36 one-bedroom rental flats in Kuata St, Lautoka. This is to cater for the increased demand for rental housing, with preparatory work and construction to commence in the 2016-2017 financial year.
“Between 2008 to May 2016, a total of 974 residential lots have been created through this program, benefiting around 4, 893 individuals.”
The Housing Assistance Relief Trust (HART) has been allocated $0.5million for the financial year 2016-2017 for its program of constructing and renovating low cost housing villages to accommodate destitute and severely impoverished families. Currently, 90 percent of HART residents are social welfare recipients, with tenants paying $1 to $5 weekly, depending on the type of home they occupy.
$4 million has been allocated for the upgrade of informal settlements on native land along the Lami-Suva-Nausori corridor. Of this provision, $1 million will go towards consultancy works for the three sites of Waidamudamu, Qauia and Wakanisila and utilities. Expenditure on infrastructure development is expected to be reimbursed to the Government by the World Bank upon the project’s completion before August, 2018.