In keeping with its purpose to advance the socio-economic development of the Federation, the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) has designed yet another program to enhance the lives of Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, create employment and stimulate the construction sector. The Housing Enhancement Loan Program (HELP) provides funding up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) at a fixed interest rate of 5% to eligible applicants who wish to renovate, remodel or extend their dwelling homes.
The SIDF has once more partnered with indigenous financial institutions in St. Kitts and Nevis to establish the HELP fund. These institutions are St. Kitts Nevis Finance Company Limited (FINCO), Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Bank of Nevis, St. Kitts Co-operative Credit Union Limited and Nevis Co-operative Credit Union Limited. Application forms may be collected from and submitted to any of the participating institutions. To qualify for a loan, applicants must be Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, and must occupy the homes on which the work is to be carried out.
The HELP fund has been established with a minimum capitalization of four million dollars ($4,000,000.00) from the SIDF. An arrangement between the SIDF and the Participating Institutions allows approved applicants to borrow money at an interest rate of 5% which is fixed over the term of the loan. HELP came into effect on the first of July for one year after which the program may be extended.
This home improvement program follows the recent revision of the criteria for accessing money from the Fund for the Realization of Economic Empowerment through Subsidized Housing (FREESH) and the Equity Assistance Fund (EAF). Initially, only persons undertaking new residential construction qualified; however, under the revised program persons who began construction but do not have an existing mortgage in relation to the applicable residential property are also eligible for loan funding. From the implementation of FREESH in January 2012 to the end of June 2013, close to eleven million dollars ($11,000,000.00) has been disbursed by the SIDF to fund the construction of eighty-nine (89) homes in St. Kitts and Nevis. Like FREESH, HELP will generate additional commercial activity, particularly in the construction industry.
Since its establishment in 2006, the SIDF has been making investments in all major sectors of the economy to stimulate growth, diversify revenue streams and create greater opportunities for the advancement of citizens and residents in the Federation.