Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday announced that $959 million has been allocated to build the final 25,000 out of 100,000 homes for Colombia’s poor and said that it will act as an economic stimulus in the upcoming year.
The Colombian head of state, while commemorating a new headquarters for the Ministry of Housing, said that 75,000 houses had already been contracted to be built and that the money for the final 25,000 houses had just been approved.
“This will have a positive effect this year…on the economy. About 200,000 jobs will be generated just from these 100,000 homes,” said Santos at the opening of the refurbished colonial building in Bogota.
There will be no upfront payment for the houses that might encourage builders to work too quickly, said the president. Payments will only be made for houses delivered, a policy the government also recently adopted for the construction of a new highway.
As well as fully subsidized housing, the government also has a program of partially subsidised housing for those on or close to the formal economy’s minimum wage.
The ministry also highlighted an ambitious water and sewage program for the year, according to local media, and is expected to spend around $500 million on providing services to people for the first time.
Referencing the presidential election in 2014, Santos also said that he and the housing minister, German Vargas, would soon be discussing their future together. Vargas is a former presidential candidate who ran against Santos in the last election.
“Are we going to the voters or are we going continue restoring ministries and building houses? This is a decision we will have to take together in the near future,” said the president.