The Government Housing Loans Board has decided to defer loan payments for three months in the first instance, for clients who have been affected by Tropical Storm Erika.
Chairman of the Housing Loans Board, Felix Thomas, said the decision was taken in light of the level of damage that the country’s housing stock underwent during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
He said the decision was taken particularly for the residents of Petite Savanne who received the full force of the storm on August 27.
As a result, the village has been declared a “special disaster area” and the majority of villagers evacuated.
“We have a number of borrowers who had been affected who are unable to access their homes,” Thomas stated on state-owned DBS Radio. “In fact, some of their houses have been completely destroyed.”
He said the decision was made after consultation with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who is the minister responsible for the Board, to waive all principles and interest payments for borrowers. He said for the time being the Board will shoulder that responsibility to ensure that “there is no future hardships brought upon those persons.”
Additionally, the board also made available and is currently getting ready a three bedroom house located in the Wall House area for a large family that was affected by the storm at no cost to the family or the government, Thomas said.
“As we say, all of us are in the recovery business,”
Meantime, according to Thomas, moves are afoot to reduce interest rates on mortgages are coming.
He said the Housing Loans Board, prior to the storm, had been given the nod of approval to seek the necessary finances for a serious reduction in the interest rates of no more than 5.5 per cent.
“We [have] presently taken a decision to hasten that move,” he noted, adding that one of the expected outcomes would be encouragement to borrowers that would in turn increase the housing stock and which in turn would create a domino effect on the island.