Albury says lack of affordable housing a problem for labor force and residents who want to return after Dorian
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The lack of housing on Abaco has “gotten much worse”, a Chamber of Commerce director said yesterday, noting that this, in addition to the “ridiculous” monthly rates being charged for available properties, was a serious concern.
Krista Albury told Eyewitness News that finding affordable housing solutions on the island was key to the post-Dorian restoration effort as the business community was being challenged on the labor front due to limited housing options for workers.
There are one-bedrooms being rented for $1,500 a month with no utilities. The Chamber is always interested in seeing businesses grow and that includes landlords, [but] it has to be fair.
– Krista Albury, Abaco Chamber of Commerce director
“I can say that the housing situation has truly gotten much worse,” said Albury.
“We are seeing some units turned immediately turned to Airbnb rentals.
“We have spoken to the new board at the DRA (Disaster Reconstruction Authority) and our MPs about the situation.
“Many of the rental properties that were available have now turned to Airbnbs or are being offered for simply ridiculous monthly rates. There are one-bedrooms being rented for $1,500 a month with no utilities.
“The Chamber is always interested in seeing businesses grow and that includes landlords, [but] it has to be fair.
“Given the current rate of the rebuild effort on the island, we need more people to come home but housing is a major issue.”
Construction tax confusion added to the mix
Albury also noted that the Abaco Chamber is still seeking clarity on the government’s decision to remove the zero-rating on construction services.
“It’s still an incredibly concerning matter for the Chamber,” she said.
The Ministry of Finance has stated that the removal of the zero-rating on construction services is expected to impact a minority of cases, mostly high-end properties.
Still, Albury said there remains confusion on the matter, with more clarity from the government expected.
“We are being very cautious in the absence of any formal clarification on what we tell our members,” she said.
“We don’t want to create more issues for them, so we are still awaiting clarity on the issue.”