The government of Liberia, through the National Housing Authority (NHA), has issued title deeds to 53 tenants (residents or occupants) from four of the government-owned Housing Estates in Monrovia and its environs. These Estates are the E. Jonathan Goodridge, New Georgia, Old Matadi and Steven Tolbert Estates.
The residents were issued their title deeds after completing their compliance with the NHA regulations that require tenants to take ownership of their apartments. Several others are in the process of meeting the requirements, upon completion of which they would be presented their deeds, the NHA has indicated.
The Estates’ occupants were issued their deeds at a ceremony held last Saturday by the NHA at its new headquarters behind the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The ceremony was attended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
In special remarks, President Sirleaf urged the former tenants, to maintain the homes that they now own and ensure that their communities set examples for others. This, she said, will encourage the NHA to begin other projects of building housing for low income Liberians.
The Liberian President noted that it is now-a-days difficult for government to acquire public land for construction purposes, like estates and other infrastructures, as a result of encroachments around Monrovia and its environs.
She, however, assured Liberians that her government will pursue all avenues to embark on such projects.
The Liberian President further disclosed that government had earmarked funds in this year’s budget to commence the construction of housing estates across the country. She did not disclose the exact amount and where these estates would be built.
“We’ve already identified certain sites that will be the next estates and in this budget year construction will start on some of those sites so we will be able to multiply the numbers that would own their own homes,” President Sirleaf assured.
The Liberian President also used the opportunity to endorse the recommendations of the various community leaders that they must now own the process rather than the NHA, since the units in these communities are their personal property.
The estates’ residents, through their representatives, had earlier demanded that since the issue of ownership for the various units no longer exists, it was their hope that the NHA would now be in the position to turn over the estates to the residents who now personally own the units for administration.
“Now that we own our units, I think we can ably administer the affairs all by ourselves. We the leaders of the various estates will be willing and ready to work with the NHA to ensure that the transition is smooth,” the estates representatives said.
When addressing the residents’ concerns President Sirleaf said: “That means that they will take responsibility; organize themselves in leadership groups that will ensure that the communities are kept clean, houses are properly maintained, and that there will be improvements in these communities.”
She assured property owners that it was government’s responsibility, through the NHA, to do its part by ensuring that facilities that are lacking in these communities will be added, such as schools, markets, clinics, and even playgrounds.
President Sirleaf also used the occasion to pay homage to the late President William R. Tolbert who conceived the vision to built homes for the less privileged and low income earners. Out of the 12 estates that government owned, six were constructed during the administration of President Tolbert.
Earlier, Managing Director Samuel Wlue welcomed President Sirleaf and other distinguished guests from the various estates to the new offices of the NHA behind the Executive Mansion. He assured all tenants that all of them who have completed the requirements to receive title deeds would be given them in the shortest possible time.
Meanwhile, the various estates and time of construction, as well as the amount of monies used for the constructions are as follow: the New Kru Towm estate, 25 units, was constructed in 1962 by President William V.S. Tubman, with funding in the amount of US$125,000.00 from the International Trust Company. The Amilcar Cabral estate, 72 units, was constructed by President William R. Tolbert in 1973/1974 with funding, in the tone of US$1,117,782.00, as a loan from the government of Norway.
The Stephen A. Tolbert estate, 442 units, was constructed by President Tolbert in 1975/1979, with a loan of US$7,598,682.00 from the government of Norway.
The E. Jonathan Goodridge estate, 604 units, also known as the Bardnersville estate, was built in 1976/1977 with a grant obtained by the government of Liberia.
Old Matadi estate, 191 units, was constructed in 1978/1980 with funds totaling US$11,732,600.00 from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). West Point estate, 32 units, was constructed in 1980, with funds amounting to US$1,054,000 from USAID. New Matadi, 72 units, was constructed in 1984 with funds, US$3M, from the Liberia Petroleum refinery Company (LPRC).
There are also housing estates in Buchanan, Voinjama, Sanniquellie and Brewerville. Some are also under construction in other areas, including Marshall City.