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House: New property for seniors

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Bermuda Housing Trust hopes to develop a sixth property to add to its 183-unit housing stock.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the project would serve to support seniors who are capable of independent living but who might not otherwise be able to afford to do so.

Colonel Burch said: “With this mandate in mind, the trustees have been quietly but prudently saving in order to develop a sixth property.

“The aim in the current in coming years is to launch a major fundraising effort to help realise this goal and to meet this most pressing need — affordable accommodation for Bermuda’s largest growing demographic, seniors.”

The Minister added that the BHT has also started work to remediate and renovate a cottage in St David’s into two apartments.

Colonel Burch said: “This project is a start, a welcome start, to what the trust has in mind.

“It is the model of a Government-Trust partnership, a public-private partnership with the Bermuda Housing Corporation, who will provide technical and oversight support for the project at no cost to the trust.

“This will help keep costs down as the trust looks to provide necessary funding for the actual work. The plan is to continue to use this model on future projects, particularly for the sixth development the trust is about to undertake.”

Colonel Burch said audited financial statements showed the BHT was in a healthy financial position and has been able to avoid raising rent for its senior tenants despite increased maintenance costs.

He said the BHT has also continued to pay off its $12.5 million loan taken in 2006 to help fund its fifth development, Dr Cann Park.

Colonel Burch explained: ‘The loan has since been renegotiated with the amount now owing of $6 million.

“The trustees have constantly paid the loan down and in recent years have made principal payments of up to $200,000 per annum over and above the monthly payments required by the loan.

“Incidentally, one of the terms of the loan is that BHT set aside $20,000 a month to build up a maintenance reserve for both the expected and unexpected at Dr Cann Park and that account currently stands at just over $800,000.”

To read Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch’s statement, click on the PDF under “Related Media”