BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (July 8, 2014): Amidst the presence of university students, banking officials, interested persons and news media representatives, the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) officially launched three loans oriented initiatives that are aimed at bringing relief and opportunity to beneficiaries.

The programs have been styled FREESH, GRASP and HELP, acronyms, respectively, for the Fund for the Realization of Economic Empowerment through Subsidized Housing, the Graduate Relief Assistance Student Program and the Housing Enhancement Loan Program.

The event took place at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, July 4, where SIDF officials and representatives of the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank presented the three initiatives that have long-term social development implications for loan recipients and the country as a whole.

FREESH targets citizens who are constructing new homes and was designed by SIDF to encourage investment in residential housing thereby stimulating the construction sector of the economy and improving the quality of housing in the Federation. Under this initiative, approved applicants would receive a loan of up to $500,000 to build or complete their homes at a low, fixed 5 per cent rate of interest.

GRASP focuses on St. Kitts and Nevis college or university graduates of the last four years, providing successful applicants with a loan-financing package that enables them to refinance their existing student loans and build or purchase a dwelling house. Graduates must have full-time employment and may acquire land upon which the house is to be built, as well as purchase a vehicle that does not exceed $50,000.

HELP is aimed at citizens with existing homes who intend to undertake repairs, remodeling or extensions. The loan maximum is set at $100,000 for a period up to 10 years, with a fixed interest rate of 6 per cent for the duration of the loan. Applicants may refinance mortgages up to 50 per cent of the borrowed amount.

Speaking following the launch ceremony, SIDF’s Chief Executive Officer Terrence Crossman told media reps that the three programs are among several that are helping to transform the social and economic fabrics of St. Kitts and Nevis and cited the significant contribution being made by the Foundation.

“SIDF has already invested half-a-billion dollars into the economy since its inception, most of it over the last few years since we started operating out of our offices at The Sands Complex. These are all programs geared toward improving standard of living and quality of life for all nationals in the Federation. That is really our key driver,” said Crossman.

SIDF was established in 2006 to assist the country in its economic diversification out of sugar production and is an approved project under the Citizenship by Investment Program of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.