Government Considers Refinance Among Options to Recoup $12 Million in Mortgage Debt to NHC
Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 17, 2022 (SKNIS): The National Housing Corporation (NHC) working closely with the Ministry of Housing and Human Settlement is considering refinancing options for homeowners who have fallen significantly behind on mortgage payments to NHC.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Housing, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, said the need for this intervention has become dire as many persons who were given the privilege to own a home from NHC have deliberately shirked their responsibility to meet their financial obligations to the corporation.
“Just about $12 million is out there to be collected from persons who are not paying for their homes. That’s not good enough Madam Speaker,” said Dr. Hanley, as he addressed the parliament on December 16, during the Budget Debate for the fiscal year 2023.
“Things will have to be done. You know what is even more painful Madam Speaker, when the workers at the institution [NHC], and all of them are working hard, would be making their calls to remind [homeowners] that you need to come in and pay, some of them are bold enough to tell them (NHC workers) don’t call back this number …”
Another disturbing discovery mentioned by the Deputy Prime Minister is that some homeowners have rented their NHC low-income homes and are collecting more than $1,250 per month from tenants. However, the owners have not paid the monthly $475 owed to NHC. Additionally, some homeowners opened bank accounts to facilitate payments to NHC but subsequently closed them after a few months.
“That is not going to continue,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Member of Parliament for St. Christopher #1 said that he was elected in August 2022, to make a difference in government and that he intends to live up to his commitments to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
In addition to refinancing options, Deputy PM Hanley said that he welcomes creative suggestions to address these issues that have ballooned over the past seven years. He added that housing officials are willing to negotiate new payment packages to help families that genuinely need consideration.
“I am going to seek the Honourable Members of this House … to share their ideas as to how we would be able to fix this because at the end of the day the country belongs to all of us,” said Dr. Hanley.
The challenges have stunted the ability of the NHC to reinvest funds into new housing projects for deserving families.