…CH&PA hosts ‘Open House Expo’ to sell ideaAfter not receiving the desired response to the idea of duplexes, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is trying once more to sell the shared house concept to Guyanese with the hosting of an Open House Exposition at Perseverance on the East Bank of Demerara.The idea of Government offering duplexes was first introduced to Guyanese in May of 2017 when the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) hosted its inaugural Housing Solutions Building Expo at the Model Village at Perseverance, EBD.CH&PA’s Public Relations Officer, Iva Wharton, on Friday said persons were skeptical about procuring a duplex following issues in the past with Government housing solutions. She noted that it was against that backdrop the housing authority decided to host the open house expo, which started Friday and will conclude on March 23.“We felt the need to regain the confidence of the public hence another chance to show them what we have to offer. What we are doing here with our open house event is to show the Guyanese public what it is they can gain with $7.1 million. The house is $6.8 million and land is $300,000,” Wharton said.The Open House Expo is aimed at providing persons with the experience of the duplex before they decide to purchase.Wharton explained that they have already sold six units and would have issued over 200 letters to interested persons for them to take to the back to secure loans. There are currently 80 units at various stages of construction in the model village.“These units are of the highest quality. I know we have had problems before but you will not see any of those problems repeating itself now. We have and we had our engineers on the ground inspecting the project at every stage so they were always doing quality testing. Additionally, anyone can get one of these houses but first you must have an application in the system and you come in to us and indicate that yes I am interested in one of these units, we tell you to go into the bank,” she said.She further related that they have collaborated with Jonas Bridal, Comfort Sleep and Oriental Furniture Store to turn the houses into homes for the expo.Meanwhile, Engineer Randolph Hunt explained that the project commenced in September, but they would have had some setbacks owing to shortage of materials and labour because of the magnitude of the project. He added the project is 80 per cent complete, hence the reason for the expo.Additionally, Hunt said the units are 23×30 and they would have modified the initial design to provide prospective owners with additional comfort at a low cost.“We would have also gone along and modified the building from the initial building expo model in order to put a cap in terms of the cost and make it relatively affordable in terms of the beneficiary. So, the roof design would have been one of the major designs we would have had to change in terms to reduce the cost,” he said.Hunt explained with the savings from the roof modification they are now able to tile the entire unit and would have added a walkway, bridge and an area to facilitate water tanks.“So basically, at this point in time, when you would have purchased your house, its to just move in and live. You just have official connection to GPL and GWI, so the houses are livable from the time of purchase,” Hunt added.However, this newspaper was told by an official close to the ministry that persons are uncomfortable with the duplex idea for a number of reasons. This publication was told that among the reasons persons indicated was the fact they are not interested in sharing a house with complete strangers. Feedback given to the ministry, this publication understands is also highlighted that communal land and residences have a number of complications when it comes to maintenance.“Persons have indicated that they are scared to share a house with complete strangers. They are worried about criminal activity…they don’t know who their neighbours are, if they have a criminal past, if they are involved in criminal activity,” an official at the ministry told this publication.Additionally, persons have indicated that Guyanese are accustomed to having their individual family yard space and the idea of shared space is very new and uncomfortable for many.Interested persons must have an application in the system before they can become eligible for one of the duplexes. Each unit has two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area and a single bath.In addition to the duplexes, the CH&PA is constructing two and three bedroom flats and elevated houses in the same area.