The Government of Sint Maarten, through the Ministry of VROMI, has made some headway into clearing up some of the outstanding subsidy money due to the Sint Maarten Housing Development Foundation (SMHDF). On Friday, February 15th, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, Miklos Giterson released the sum of 1 Million guilders to the foundation. This one million guilders represents a percentage of unpaid subsidy indexations and other compensations owed to the SMHDF for annual rental subsidies of tenants and the repair of homes. The Foundation intents to carry out much-needed repairs to the various homes under its management with the monies.
“The current financial situation of the SMHDF is less than ideal. This is caused not only by irregular payment of rent by the various tenants, but also due to lack of payment of the agreed subsidies by the Government to SMHDF.” Minister Giterson acknowledges.
The money will be acquired through funds held in a Revolving Account that the foundation manages on behalf of Government through a Management Agreement established in 2010. The revolving fund holds the revenues of the Hope Estate Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects. With the releasing of this money, it was mutually agreed that within a period of three months an administrative audit would be performed to settle the total claim amount. Once verified both institutions will jointly review the group of management agreements, some of which are more than twenty years old and outdated, and aim to establish one single revised agreement. SMHDF will also comply with its quarterly reporting obligations to the Government.
Minister Giterson paid a visit to the Belvedere Housing Complex on Friday, February 22, where, accompanied by SMHDF officials, he was given a tour of a few of the damaged homes that are to be repaired. At the start of the tour the Minister was presented with the 2017 Financial Statements and the 2019 Budget of the foundation by its General Director, Helen Salomans.
“I am pleased that we have made some progress in this area, as these payments have been an issue that has been pending for several years. There were many attempts to address this in the past but it never materialized. My team and I will continue to ensure that the housing foundation receives the support it needs and will pursue all avenues to strengthen the organization.” Minister Giterson assures.