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Gov’t mulls housing for NAU clients

Councilor Austin Harris says the government may have to look into building its own housing stock to help Needs Assistance Unit (NAU) clients as a growing number of landlords are refusing to rent to them.
One social advocate says the situation needs urgent attention so those seeking help do not end up on the streets.
Government is facing a challenge when it comes to finding housing for needs assessment unit clients, and former charity worker Megan Ritch says it’s going to get worse.

“It’s at a stage where we will have to get social housing or we will face an issue with more cases of homelessness and the country is too small,” Ms. Ritch said.

A growing number of rental ads are outright rejecting NAU clients and Ms. Ritch said the problem is being compounded by Cayman’s growing population.

“So Because the rental market is booming, which is to put it lightly, it is already causing already disenfranchised individuals and families to become even more disenfranchised with the fact that there are not really any accommodation options out there,” Ms. Ritch said.

Community Affairs councilor Harris says the issue is on government’s radar.

“The government is going to have to address one way or the other. There is either going to be sufficient properties, in private sector or public sector, we are willing to partner with NAU to provide resources to our citizens who have fallen on difficult times or engage in significant expenditure in improving the housing stock, but either way, solutions need to be provided,” he said.

Ms. Ritch said while government mulls over housing, local landlords need to be more considerate of those in need.

“We also have to bear on mind that there are children going homeless because of this situation and I am talking about babies,” said Ms. Ritch.

She added while getting the housing sorted is important, she said, there needs to be a plan to help NAU clients get back on their feet permanently.

Both Mr. Harris and Ms. Ritch appealed to landlords to be more receptive to NAU clients. He pointed out the government has launched its direct deposits programme to address delays in payments. Mr. Harris also called on NAU clients to be mindful of how they treat their accommodations.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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