St. John’s Antigua- Although the prognosis for this hurricane season is one of very few storms, a government entity is offering business owners and homeowners loans to secure their premises. The entity- the National Development Foundation (NDF) will be granting loans up to $30,000 for repairs, improving the home, renovating or expansion.
The programme, which will be available until the end of season, will grant loans to persons based on a number of qualifying factors.
Successful applicants will have to present prerequisite documents, such as development plans, estimates and proof of ownership of land or actual housing structure.
Executive Director NDF Paul Bacchus told OBSERVER Media that the signed estimates should detail the costing and what needs to be done to the existing structure.
“To qualify for the loans, you must also have two letters of reference from persons who are not family members; a job letter and an estimated value of the building. You must also demonstrate evidence to service the loan,” Bacchus said.
A loan of $25,000 will be granted to people looking to retrofitting their homes or businesses.
Low income home earners will also be able to benefit from the same amount and up to $30,000 to do improvements or expansion. A 10 percent equity will also be required.
“That 10 percent could be either labour contribution, material contribution, cash or in the form of any contribution which will be made by the homeowner or business owner, he added.
The executive director said these requirements will give beneficiaries a level of responsibility and commitment to the programme.
“In small business loans we ask for the activity on the land, the building and documentation showing ownership of the land. It brings out the commitment, and when they get a loan they will see the project to completion,” Bacchus said.
The project was birthed out of a community- based disaster mitigation exercise which indicated that most of the homes on the island needed upgrading in order to be hurricane resistant.