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Housing Assistance Continues For Rural Communities

15/08/16

Home ownership in Fiji’s rural communities is always the aspiration for many rural dwellers. Compounded by a lower income base and fewer employment opportunities in rural areas, housing has become unaffordable for many rural residents. The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development & National Disaster Management has been providing critical housing support to rural communities through the Rural Housing Assistance program by Government. The program provides the much needed assistance and supports the construction of new homes that is more affordable, durable and cyclone resistant under different categories.

Over the years, the program has assisted hundreds of rural families and households. One beneficiary of such assistance is Petero Semi of Saru Back Rd, Lautoka. The 58 year old was a happy man when Government through the Office of the Commissioner Western Division stepped in this year to support him build his new home after years of waiting. The former government supplies employee said he was delighted that his application was considered.

Petero Semi sitting in front of his home currently under construction under the Rural Housing Assistance
“I was excited and happy when the Officials of the Commissioner Western Division visited to me to say that I will be assisted this year.

“Right now, construction is nearing completion. A cousin of mine who is a carpenter is assisting in the construction of the house,” Mr Semi said.

Having to stay with his relatives for quite some time now, Mr Semi looks forward to move into his new home.

Similar sentiments were shared by Lusiana Kaisau of Nailaga village in Ba. She was also assisted this year through the Office of the Commissioner Western Division for the construction of her new home including sanitation facilities.

Lusiana Kaisau and with her family in front of her new home currently under construction under the Rural Housing Assistance

The 60 year old grandmother said she was happy to be considered by Government and be assisted under the Rural Housing assistance currently implemented by the Ministry.

“I want to thank Government for assisting me to build a home for my family. It is good that government is targeting to assist people like me, who can’t afford to build a house on our own,” Ms Kaisau said.

Ms Kaisai went on to say that construction work is progressing well.

Commissioner Western Division, Mr Manasa Tagicakibau mentioned that a number of rural Fijians have been assisted through the Rural Housing program in the Western Division. He said in this program, beneficiaries are required to pay one third of the total cost of the house while Government will take care of the two third of the cost.

“There is a standard plan in this housing program which includes sanitation facilities. The total cost of house is about $18,000.00 and the one third contributions from beneficiaries is around $6,000.00

“The program has been designed in such a way to encourage community involvement and participation. We aim to deliver the much needed housing assistance; to ensure existing housing provides good quality decent homes and that the rural communities thrives,” Mr Tagicakibau said.

While housing is essential for the well-being and social security of rural households, Mr Tagicakibau said that safe homes in which rural people are satisfied with housing conditions; helps build social stability and security.

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