BELVEDERE, Sint Maarten — The Supervisory Board of Directors and Interim Management of St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF) are very pleased to announce that the 2016 budget has been approved and submitted to the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure on Friday, November 13, 2015. In addition to the budget, SMHDF also submitted their audited 2013 annuals to the Ministry.

SMHDF is tremendously delighted to have accomplished yet another milestone during a year that started with some turbulences. Recently this year, the groundbreaking and roof vetting of two newly constructed houses took place in Belvedere. These homes are specifically catering to the low income earners within our community, giving them an opportunity to be home owners, something they might have never been able to accomplish due to the rise of land and property in St. Maarten. These groups do not qualify for housing loans from the financial institutions due to lack of collateral and low income base. They are marginalized in terms of access to affordable and adequate housing and SMHDF is very gratified to be able to give this group of people an opportunity.

It is more important than ever for SMHDF to remain financially and operationally viable regardless of external factors or unforeseen events in order to continue to help build a safe and happy environment said the managing directors.

Plans for this year include undertaking a new Investment plan, which will involve building of more social housing, for sale in addition to rental. The mandate of the housing sector is to provide adequate shelter for all, with basic infrastructure for amenities such as water, sanitation, electricity and roads.

Affordable and safe housing is an integral component to a strong Community. Research and experience have confirmed that housing issues affect all segments of society, from a child’s ability to succeed in school to working class families struggling to pay monthly rent, from business owners trying to retain employees, to seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities consumed with housing costs and unable to focus on their health needs.

Affordable housing typically is defined as paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing, including utilities.” Rent-burdened households” are those that pay higher than 30 percent, and “cost-burdened” households are defined as paying more than 50 percent on housing. The SMHDF envisions assisting this market segment through the years with the execution Small Social Communities.

In 2016 the SMHDF will invest its resources diligently to pact with some of the most challenging issues in the Housing Market – such as starter housing, sales, small social family housing communities, senior housing as well as housing for the special needs groups who are daily faced with the hidden homelessness concept. Investments will be financed through creative Own and/or (Pre) Financing schemes with stakeholders. This concept will provide a new source of funding; fill financing gaps for innovation and growth; and develop sustainability and self-sufficiency.  Concurrently enable capital to be revolved for onward investment; deepen engagement by providing small housing communities; and help to share a new responsible form of social housing.This concept will provides finance to build an organization’s long-term capacity to achieve its social mission.

The SMHDF is now steadfastly moving forward to have its third financial report for the year, the 2014 audited statements completed within the 2015 book year.  Thereby clearing the financial backlog for compliance with the corporate governance code on  timely reporting in 2016.