Thirty-six (36) homes have been purchased through the Housing Development Loan Program (HDLP), a $15 million-dollar soft loan from Taiwan to address Palau’s housing problem.
Thirty (30) of the 36 houses are under construction or have been completed. Six were already existing homes that people just purchased through the HDLP. Also, of the 36 homes, 34 are new homeowners and only 2 are displaced.
When inquired why only 2 applicants are displaced when it has been reported that over 200 were displaced, Minister Baklai Chilton said that some are still looking for leases while others have made arrangements with new landowners. She added that the main challenge is getting a lease in Koror or close to Koror which many of the displaced people prefer.
So far Ngatpang State has submitted two (2) areas for subdivisions. Airai State and Melekeok State have signed Memorandums of Understanding with Palau Housing Authority for subdivisions as well. Airai’sYelch subdivision is seeking $1.9 million for road, power, and water infrastructures for a subdivision with 12 houses. Melekeok is requesting $3.2 million also for infrastructure for a subdivision with 19 houses.
Work is being coordinated between Bureau of Land & Survey, EQPB and Historical Preservation for both subdivisions in order to expedite the projects. According to Minister BaklaiTemengil-Chilton, they are working with the State governments on the infrastructure loan repayment arrangement.
So far the 36 houses have chipped off $2,791,116 of the $15 million loan for housing development program.
The Housing Development Loan Program was initiated to provide housing for new homeowners and to address the growing housing displacement problem as a result of former public lands being returned to their original owners. President Remengesau Jr. obtained a $15 million dollar loan from Taiwan to address the problem and congress drafted a law creating an agency to work with Palau Housing Authority and National Development Bank of Palau to administer the program. (L.N. Reklai)