Statia’s Government Commissioner responsible for Housing, Marcolino Franco , has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Friday, May 17th, with Dutch Housing Association, Woonlinie together and the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations to start a pilot for the improvement of social housing on St. Eustatius . The Public Entity of St. Eustatius envisions providing quality and affordable social housing and increasing the existing social housing inventory in order to meet the demand.
The ultimate goal is to construct a minimum of five homes annually until there are about 50 new low income homes on St. Eustatius and until all 95 existing homes of St. Eustatius Housing Foundation (SHF) have been renovated. The Public Entity wants to achieve this goal by starting the first pilot to renovate an existing home and construct two new homes in Golden Rock. By starting a pilot between the Public Entity of St. Eustatius in collaboration with Statia Housing Foundation (SHF), the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and Woonlinie, all parties are able to explore future possibilities for further cooperation. The current stock of social housing on St. Eustatius is in urgent need of repair and upgrading and there are too little affordable houses.
The St. Eustatius Housing Foundation nor the Public Entity are in the position to fund on the renovation and expansion their own, due to limited resources. A major advantage is that both Woonlinie and BZK will invest the monies in the construction of new social housing and in the renovation of existing homes. Without this agreement, this much needed investment would not have been possible. The big advantage for the current tenants is that the lease contracts will remain unchanged. Therefore, the tenants will experience improved living conditions for their rent.
The pilot entails the renovation of one dwelling and the construction of two new homes on a vacant lot in Golden Rock, which will serve for a short time as a model for the tenants to see firsthand what the newly renovated and constructed homes will look like. During the renovation and construction of the homes, Woonlinie will work with one main contractor and with local contractors as much as possible.
The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Public Entity of St. Eustatius believe it is important to have a subsidy for those persons who cannot afford to cover the costs of rents due to a relatively low income. The Ministry is working together with the local government on a system that provides for housing benefits (subsidy) in the future. The local government is also working with the Ministry on a new rental price regulation. Part of this rental price regulation is the possibility of introducing a rental point system. In this context, Statistics Netherlands (CBS )has done a survey in April of this year. The results will be used for a system of rental price regulation.
The first results of this pilot project will be visible in the fourth quarter of 2019/or the first quarter of 2020. If the pilot is a success, all 95 social houses will be renovated and approximately 50 new houses will be built.