As troubles continue to mount at the Social Security Board’s Joes Hill Manor Estate, the SSB must end its silence and fully explain the way forward to the taxpayers whose money funded the nearly $27 million project.

Recent heavy rainfalls that collapsed a parking lot were the latest problem at the development of 52 homes that the SSB has been struggling to sell since 2022.

And last October, rains that accompanied Tropical Storm Philippe caused major landslides at the complex, temporarily blocking roads and damaging two vehicles parked at what appeared to be the only occupied home at the time.

But the issues appear to run deeper. Even before the flooding, the SSB’s struggles to sell the homes suggested a troubling lack of planning from the project’s early stages.

Consider the cost of the units. The estate was initially billed as “affordable housing” to give first-time homeowners a leg up. But costs start at $275,900 for a one-bedroom condo and range up to $625,000 for the largest three-bedroom townhouse. That is hardly “affordable,” and with no subsidy programme in place it is not surprising that few buyers materialised.

This situation was surely predictable with some basic back-of-the-napkin calculations that could have been carried out before the project even broke ground.

The public is left with many questions. Did the SSB conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis and business case before deciding to proceed with the project? And given the recent flooding woes, were sufficient flooding, engineering and other analyses completed?

We don’t know, because the SSB — which in October said that remedial works were planned to stabilise the hillsides — has so far declined to provide such documentation.

This lack of transparency must end.

At this stage, the SSB is highly unlikely to see any return on investment in the Joes Hill project, but it can still go back the drawing board and draft a comprehensive plan to minimise losses.

This plan must be public, and it must candidly explain the project’s problems and the measures to be taken to address them. It also must outline realistic measures to market and sell the homes even if it means lowering the prices.

Ultimately, the plan must give prospective buyers full confidence that the development will succeed — and that they would be safe if they purchase a home there.

Last October, SSB officials blamed remediation delays in part on the absence of a full board. If this issue persists, the government must appoint more board members without further delay.

The longer the homes sit empty, the more money will go down the drain.

Historically, the SSB has had a reputation as a thoughtful and prudent steward of public funds. But the Joes Hill project is missing that mark.