Over ?20 million spent by Govt on housing repairs

Minister for Housing, Clive Beltran, yesterday published the Government?s first Annual Report, thus discharging what he describes as its manifesto commitment to do so. This first Report relates to the year 2005, and will now be annual.

The Report greatly increases the level of transparency and public accountability in relation to important housing issues, says a Govt press release.

The Minister for Housing, in his foreword states, ??I am responsible for ensuring that housing services meet the needs for the community at a price we can afford. I am also committed to keeping stakeholders and principally tenants fully informed on the progress of these services. I would, therefore, ask tenants in particular to kindly take time to read this Report as it contains useful information on general topics of interest as well as on current reforms and future plans.?

Copies of the Housing Report will be forwarded directly to Government tenants and similarly to all of the private co-ownership estates which are covered by this Report.

These will also be available at all three main counters at the Ministry for Housing, City Hall.

The Minister says he wishes to finally take this opportunity to thank tenants associations and estate management companies for their co-operation.

COLOURFUL

The glossy, full-colour report at times resembles an election pampthlet. It is full of colourful photos, smiling faces and references to new offices and improvements in the department, as well as what is described as a new and more accessible reporting office.

ILLEGAL

It says that the Ministry's policy os that squatters' cases for housing cannot be considered whilst they remain as illegal occupants.

Bishop Canilla House has been a great success.

The report then refers to 'affordable housing projects', with coourful photos of the blocks being built and to be built.

There are three pages about 'major refurbishment programme'. It says: In excess of ?20 million have been spent in major repairs and refurbishment of government housing during the period April 1998 to the end of March 2005.'

It adds that "the positive changes brought about by this type of investment in the general state of buildings has already made an impact that is there for all to see."

It is planned to introduce new Public Housing legislation. The report talks of "significant and positive changes to the housing allocation scheme."

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

It recognises there is anti-social behaviour when it says there are plans to alleviate the problem. "A marked increase in the number of cases of anti-social behaviour being reported to the Ministry of Housing has been noted," it says.

About Buildings and Works, the report says that the senior management has a clear mandate to institute a vigorous customer-care policy based on increased productivity, effectiveness and efficiency through the active pursuit of a 'value-for-money' service delivery.

"One of he main targets has been to improve the flow of information within and outside Buildings and Works, essentially to accurately assess the magnitude of the job in hand," it adds.

The housing ministry says it has taken "a very important step towards the improvement of the cleaning services within the public housing estates."

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