The Executive Council of Saba and Alexandra van Huffelen, the State Secretary for Kingdom Relations, will be signing the Letter of Intent for Saba today. The aim is to realize around 50 affordable rented and owner-occupied homes up to and including 2030 and to make self-building more affordable.
The government wants to raise living standards and fight poverty in the Caribbean Netherlands, among other things by taking measures relating to housing. For this reason, work will be carried out in the coming years on building affordable rented and owner-occupied homes on Saba, which will enable people on limited incomes to secure a home that is more in keeping with that income.
Together building affordable homes
The Public Entity Saba (OLS) will provide the building locations for the new homes. Together, the State Secretary and the OLS want to realise around 50 affordable rental and owner-occupied properties by 2030. Housing corporation Bazalt Wonen, active on Saba for many years, will construct a part of the properties as social rented homes for people on limited incomes. Through the landlord subsidy (VHS), Bazalt Wonen will ensure that the personal contribution to the rent will remain affordable for future tenants on low incomes.
Points system for renting
Housing must become more affordable for tenants. A points system is to be introduced for the social rental sector under which rents will be capped. The number of points assigned to a property will depend on factors such as the number of rooms, living area, and outdoor space. Each point score is linked to a maximum rent. In this way, tenants will pay a rent that is in keeping with the property they are renting. An island ordinance must regulate this before 2025.
More support for self-building
Saba has a strong tradition of building one’s own home. The preparatory work, including excavation, and installation of a water cistern, septic tank, and foundations, is very expensive. In most cases, these costs cannot be included in the mortgage. In order to make self-building more affordable, there will be an island scheme for the funding of elements such as the water cistern, the septic tank and/or the foundations.
Building affordable homes in a liveable neighborhood
The Letter of Intent is part of the implementation of the policy agenda on Public Housing and Spatial Planning for the Caribbean Netherlands. This agenda was published on the 22nd of January 2023. The aim is to facilitate affordable housing for more people and to protect the living environment on the islands. Other focus areas therefore include better rent compensation, the introduction of a rent tribunal on Saba and more financing opportunities for buyers who just fall short of obtaining the funding required for their owner-occupied home.