The Social Security Board plans for its first affordable housing site to stretch from Long Bush up to Joes Hill Road. Photo: CONOR KING DEVITT

A few Virgin Islanders, belongers and long-time residents will likely be able to take advantage the Social Security Board’s new First-Time Home Owners Initiative come December, according to James Todman, one of the project’s lead contractors.

Mr. Todman delivered that promise while speaking last Thursday at a groundbreaking for the construction of the initiative’s first site: “Joes Hill Manor.”

“We will have four homes fully ready for December 2017,” he said, adding, “We are going to work tirelessly to get two more buildings in, so we’re looking at having at least six buildings.”

The SSB is investing money towards making it easier for people to purchase their first homes, as well as working with banks to provide buyers with slashed down payments and low-interest-rate mortgages, SSB Director Antoinette Skelton explained.

“This initiative by the Social Security Board will change the life of several individuals and families who otherwise might not be able to afford a home of their own,” she said at the ceremony.

The initiative is SSB Chairman Ian Smith’s brainchild, according to Ms. Skelton. Mr. Smith pushed for the idea shortly after his appointment in October 2015, she said.

To date, Mr. Smith said, more than 400 people have registered for the initiative, which is also open to non-belongers who have lived in the territory for the past 20 years.

The site, which begins partway up Joes Hill and stretches down towards Long Bush, is located on 7.5 acres of land, Mr. Todman explained. The contractors — he and Larry Adams — plan to construct 52 units across 25 buildings, for about $14 million.

Those units will include one-bedroom condominiums, two-bedroom condominiums, two-bedroom town houses, three-bedroom town houses, two-bedroom homes, and three-bedroom homes.

The contractors plan to buy locally and use entirely local labour, Mr. Todman promised.

See the April 27, 2017 edition for full coverage.