SOCIETY: The social housing crisis in Saint-Martin

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During the morning seminar organized by Medef Saint-Martin last Saturday in the presence of the president of FEDOM, Hervé Mariton, the president of Semsamar, Alain Richardson, explained the stalled situation of new social housing in the face of growing demand on the territory.

Recalling the late takeover of housing competence by the Community and the launch in December 2022 of the Local Housing Program (PLH), Alain Richardson, president of Semsamar and 1st vice-president of the COM, outlined the assessment of the housing deficit which prevents the improvement of the living conditions and security of Saint-Martin residents: “We have 3000 to 3500 housing units in the social sector necessary in the territory. In addition to the intervention of Action Logement, we must deploy measures that could help resolve this problem.” Three social landlords are present in Saint-Martin, Semsamar, SIG and SIKOA, whose cumulative assets reach 1800 social housing units. With the delivery of 52 social housing units to Savane in December 2023, Semsamar relaunched a dormant offer since 2017 but due to a lack of tax incentives or eligibility for housing assistance, the conditions are not met to set up operations having a cost price allowing us to offer affordable prices to applicants. After investing €52M in the rehabilitation of the entire social housing stock since the passage of Irma, Semsamar is preparing to involve the Guadeloupe Solidarity Land Organization (OFS) to build at a lower cost (land dissociation /built) 159 BRS (Real Solidarity Lease) including 80 rental and 79 ownership. But the intervention of the public land establishment of Guadeloupe, holder of this OFS, requires approval from the prefect of the Guadeloupe Region who today considers that this would not be regular on the basis of texts of the organic law operated by the Management of housing, town planning and landscapes (DHUP) of the Ministry of Housing. In conclusion, the crisis continues while an active queue of more than 3000 beneficiaries of social housing grows: “Beyond the question of housing, we must bring the population back to create dynamics in economic and social life” declared Alain Richardson. Comments supported by Vincent Berton, delegated prefect of the Northern Islands for whom the question of housing and post-Irma reconstruction in Saint-Martin was one of the major subjects for the State:

“Housing is a factor that contributes to family balance and academic success. The construction sector is a very strong lever for growth and good dynamics which must return to the territory, so that the people of Saint-Martin can capture this wealth.” By favoring the path of dialogue like that regularly proposed by FipCom through professional breakfasts, Vincent Berton recalled the State's commitment to issues linked to the housing sector in Saint-Martin. Continued and finished in our next edition. _VX

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