Government looks for solution to address issues

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An informal settlement in Suva. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Informal settlements are a big challenge for the Coalition Government as this has been an issue for quite some time with no practical strategies put in place for relocation of residents.

Local Government and Housing Minister Maciu Nalumisa said this when asked about whether there were affordable housing for people living in these areas.

“What we are trying to do now is create more spaces, do more construction on the ground where we need to come up with housing models to cater for different sections of society, especially those that live in informal settlements,” Mr Nalumisa said.

Public Rental Board (PRB), he said, would be looking into constructing more housing flats for low-income earners.

“The PRB is an institution that can also look after some of those families because those that do not have the means, they don’t have the capacity and ability to buy and own their homes — an option given to them — we provide flats for them, and they can rent while they occupy.

“We have discussed with directors’ project managers of Housing Authority and Public Rental Board to maybe come up with housing models to be able to move in some of the informal settlements that we currently have within the vicinity and towns in our country.

” He said they wanted to avoid previous incidents where residents from outside the settlements were living in the flats.

“As an example, you can look at Jittu Estate, they had the Lagilagi Project that was supposed to go for Jittu Estate residents.

“There were some shortfalls in the project because it was supposed to look after people from Laglagi, somehow there were flats given to people outside Lagilagi.

“What we trying to do now is for the Public Rentals Board to come in develop Lagilagi and we must make sure that those that live in those Jittu estates that it absorbs them that they have decent housing.”

“We will also give them an opportunity to maybe buy properties later, I think they are stuck in the situation right now because they do not have any place to go.

“So that is our plan now and for the future, to do more construction, development.

“The Housing Authority should be able to ensure there is a transition for those who are living in informal settlement to move to formal housing.”