500 Social housing units on Bonaire

Three parties join forces for the benefit of the social housing on Bonaire. On Thursday 27 June 2019 state secretary Raymond Knops for the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), commissioner Elvis Tjin Asjoe of the Public Entity Bonaire (OLB) and director-officer Ben Oleana of housing association Fundashon Cas Bonairiano (FCB) signed the social housing Bonaire covenant.

sociale huurwoningen

The Dutch Cabinet has set a benchmark for a social minimum in the Caribbean Netherlands, an indicative amount that someone at least needs to live on. The objective of this covenant is the realisation of a partnership regarding the building of 500 social housing units on Bonaire. 

State secretary Raymond Knops is pleased: “The signature of the covenant today is a beautiful example of an intensive partnership between the parties concerned as agreed in the Administrative Agreement Bonaire. Also because it departs from the priorities that were presented by Bonaire and serves the inhabitants of Bonaire. Because that is what we are doing this for.”

In the coming years this covenant gives a stimulus to the challenges in the area of social housing on Bonaire. In the covenant the parties concerned agree on binding arrangements about the realisation of 500 social housing units. For instance, FCB funds the building of 500 social housing units. In this respect the OLB is responsible for, inter alia, the funding of the required infrastructure for the new development project (roads, water and electricity) and makes the leasehold lands available. The Central Government contributes EUR 2.5 million from the Region Envelope for the required infrastructure. The Central Government also takes over the rent compensation to FCB from the Public Entity; the OLB will also spend the thus released funds on the required infrastructure. 

The new development project

After many years of intensive efforts FCB has provided for the full funding of the 500 social housing units, for an amount of USD 35 million. In the coming seven (7) years the project will be built in phases. RBC Bank funds the first phase of 76 houses at Nieuw Amsterdam for USD 4.5 million and the other 424 houses are funded for USD 23 million through a consortium formed by Vidanova Bank, Vidanova Pension Fund, Foundation Pension Fund Curaçao and Pension Fund Caribbean Netherlands (PCN) of Bonaire. In addition, FCB provides a personal contribution of almost USD 6 million. 
Ben Oleana, director-officer of FCB proudly notes: “Our motto “Building Together” stands for building together on living on Bonaire. FCB is aware of the fact that we cannot realise our mission alone. That is why we invest in a good relationship with direct stakeholders and chain partners like the OLB, the Central Government and social organisations in order to properly perform the key tasks of FCB in a committed and result-oriented fashion. It is now an established fact. The building costs are borne by our foundation whilst the OLB will provide the required building plots. In terms of the infrastructure an infrastructure committee was set up on the initiative of FCB and the Space and Development Directorate (R&O) to negotiate the infrastructural costs in the course of which an opinion is issued to the Executive Council of the OLB. The resources for this are mostly, directly and indirectly (through the takeover of the rent compensation), at the expense of the Central Government. Both for the tenants of FCB and the tenants on the private market this will result in more equilibrium in the price-quality ratio. Together we are strong and the entire project is a reality.”

Social housing part of the Administrative Agreement Bonaire

In the Administrative Agreement Bonaire (November 2018) it was agreed that the Central Government, the OLB and the housing association FCB on Bonaire would agree on further arrangements about the total funding of the project for 500 social housing units on Bonaire. The entry into force of the new rented housing market legislation and regulations is finally a reality. The social housing covenant Bonaire gives substance to these arrangements in the Administrative Agreement. The programme manager of the Administrative Agreement, Danny Rojer, was also invited by the EC of Bonaire to be present during the signing on St. Eustatius. With the signing of the covenant an important visible step was taken in the implementation of the Administrative Agreement.

‘’Today marks a special and beautiful day for Bonaire. 500 Families are assisted in the years to come with affordable rented housing, which for all of them will result in considerably better living conditions. Many of these families have been looking forward to this for many years. The covenant that we signed today shows what meaningful things we can accomplish for the society on Bonaire if we properly work together. Three parties, all departing from their own responsibility, contributed to this. The Executive Council is extremely grateful to the Central Government in the person of state secretary Knops for the willingness to jointly pick up this dossier and to co-fund the required funding. As the Public Entity Bonaire we would not have been able to bear the relevant costs alone. We are therefore profoundly impressed by the role played by FCB. Director Ben Oleana and his team deserve a big compliment for their persistence and the result obtained. We hope that this partnership provides an example as to how the Central Government and the Public Entity Bonaire can jointly also realise other urgent projects from the Administrative Agreement’’, according to a proud commissioner of Bonaire, Elvis Tjin Asjoe.