An article in Saturday's Fiji Times sounded an excellent opportunity for people who have been paying off their mortgages for years and years to the Fiji Housing Authority to be pardoned and get the debt paid off. Some have paid more than twice the original cost over the years. It seemed a good idea to investigate if it helps people in villages with several houses purchased through the Fiji Housing Authority. Okay, a family member checked it out and it's only for individuals and not for houses bought communally by a clan. Now that does seem unfair and favours only certain home-buyers and not others. There's usually a catch to 'good news' stories in Fiji isn't there!
Here's the story:
Saturday, March 10, 2012
A $2million government assistance will see at least 300 customers of Housing Authority having their debts partially or completely written off.
And yesterday, one of the 300, Navosai resident Peni Waqaimoala was still reeling from the news of his windfall. "I have no words to describe how I fell, I had the best night of sleep in ages," Mr Waqaimoala said. "I am thankful to the government and Housing Authority for having the vision of providing assistance to people like my family."
Yesterday, HA confirmed that the first 16 homeowners who have qualified for the scheme would have received their letters this week. "In this instance, we are extending the social housing policy to assist more homeowners by considering those who have paid over two times the principal loan amount, are retired and can prove genuine financial difficulties in repaying their home loans," Housing Authority chief executive Alipate Naiorosui said.
"The assistance under the social housing policy is in line with the announcement by the Prime Minister in January, 2011 to ensure that all Fijians have access to decent and affordable housing by 2020, which saw 92 families having their home loan accounts completely written off.
"Initially under the policy, homeowners who had paid over two and a half times the principal loan amount, are retired and or who are facing genuine financial difficulties were considered for full or partial write off", he said.
HA spokesman Dwain Qalovaki said if existing Housing Authority homeowners were facing genuine financial difficulty, they were requested to contact HA to see if they qualified under the policy.
"In special cases where the homeowners are temporarily facing financial difficulties, we are able to facilitate freezing of interest charges to their home loan account. The financial assistance to the 16 homeowners this month totals over $200,000 of both government grant and HA provisions. Housing Authority is expected to assist more homeowners in the coming months by providing full or partial write offs," Mr Qalovaki said.
The main objective of the policy is to encourage home retention and ownership.