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Online housing survey launched

Online housing survey to be launched (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

An online survey to determine an accurate number of families in need of housing was launched yesterday.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said up-to-date statistics were needed to help the Bermuda Housing Corporation provide adequate and affordable housing.

The survey is being carried out in a joint effort by the ministry and the BHC.

Colonel Burch said the survey would identify the main problems and assist the ministry with planning to meet housing demand. He said: “There has been virtually no increase in the amount of affordable housing stock for at least the last seven years and even less attention paid to maintaining the current housing inventory.”

He said at present 500 families were housed in BHC and privately-owned properties, while another 180 families are accommodated in rooming houses.

Colonel Burch added: “But with an ever-increasing demand, we lack capacity to help more families.”

He said: “The goal is to identify what people need in terms of affordable and adequate housing for rent and purchase for themselves and their families.”

Colonel Burch added: “We are painfully aware of the struggles that people face regarding rents and purchasing units in the open market.

“Additionally, there are challenges and circumstances that prevent some from being properly and sufficiently housed such as unemployment, underemployment, low income, access and availability of units.”

Colonel Burch said the information collected would be used to check if present plans needed to be modified.

He said: “Accurate data is the key to being able to provide what is needed, so I encourage everyone to participate in the survey so that our plans and actions going forward will address the needs of the Bermudian people.”

Colonel Burch told MPs during the Budget debate last week that he did not think BHC’s figure of 108 families in need of housing reflected demand and promised that a survey would be done.

He told Members of Parliament: “I disagree with the figure, because I think it is more than that. And I think people have lost hope in our ability to provide housing for them so they don’t register.”

The survey is at www.affordablehousing.bm and will run to the end of April.