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Apr 15, 2019

Eagle JEM Estate – a Housing Project by the Holy Redeemer Credit Union

A new housing project was launched over the weekend that presents exciting opportunities to prospective homeowners. The “Eagle Jem Estate” is located just outside Belize City. It is by the Holy Redeemer Credit Union and in its first phase, sixty-seven properties are ready. Qualifying member owners can choose between two or three bedroom houses through an approved mortgage plan.   Here is News Five’s Duane Moody.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The Holy Redeemer Credit Union is part of a movement that has helped Belizean working class people for many decades—whether to start up a business, for education and even mortgages. The latter has over the years become a sticking point for most Belizeans. For example, in Belize City, thousands of persons are currently renting at five hundred dollars or more for an unfurnished two bedroom house and depending on whether it’s on south or north side that price is higher. So if you have been renting for over ten years at that price, you could have been half way through paying your mortgage for a house you can call your own.


Wendy Castillo

Wendy Castillo, Vice President, Board of Directors, H.R.C.U.

“Looking at our financials every year and looking at how we’ve performed for every AGM yearly, we saw the demand in our loans department, where majority of our member-owners come in to apply for housing, home improvement, renovation. So when you look at our overall projection, housing is a big demand within Belize itself. As you know, government is not building any homes; people don’t have access to affordable homes. So as a responsible credit union, a credit union built on people’s movement and the idea of helping each other, our board and our investment committee decided to embark on this bold initiative.”


That bold initiative is in the form of a housing project off mile fourteen on the Philip Goldson Highway. “Eagle Jem Estate” keeps the legacy of Jane Usher alive. In its first phase, sixty-seven properties are in the process of being installed, some completed. They are either two or three bedroom houses, uniformly constructed on quarter-acre plots of land along paved streets. Lighting, potable water as well as garbage collection services are in place and houses, when completed, are move-in ready.


Larry Flowers

Larry Flowers, Project Manager

“Doing a project such as this one had certain requirements. The most tedious is being able to develop the property into the lots as approved by LUA, which takes quite a bit. After that the infrastructural work, giving access to the project, developing the road structures, putting in utilities, water, electricity. I must want to say for that to have completed in two years, I think we are well in advance. To date, we have twenty-nine two-bedroom house concrete structures. We have one two bedroom completed that you can view and a three bedroom as well.”


Wendy Castillo

“Today we are launching the first phase of the project. Sixty-seven homes are being built—thirty, three bedroom and thirty-seven, two bedrooms. The lot sizes are a hundred and four by a hundred and four so they are big for recreational purposes so children can grow in a healthy and clean environment. It is our hope that Eagle Jem can become the first green community within the country of Belize.”


The scope of the housing project and the opportunity it provides was definitely not a disappointment for the hundreds of persons who attended an open house at the new community, located a short distance away from Maxboro.


Clara Cuellar

Clara Cuellar, Member-Owner, H.R.C.U.

“It is a wonderful location. The wind here, the sun, but one is not sweating. The home is definitely well-outlaid; even in a modern setting, with the openness of the kitchen to the living room; instead of a cutup closed box that one would give to people of working class. So I am extremely pleased and I think it is a wonderful opportunity for myself. And then the cost too is a stunning.”


Alfredo Santos

Alfredo Santos, Member-Owner, H.R.C.U.

“That is one of the reason I am here, as a first time owner. They are giving us an opportunity to own a home for yourself and to stop pay this rent. Paying rent, you will never own a home, but with H.R.C.U., you can own one of these.”


Like with any development there is a cost, but Eagle Jem Estate is about affordability. The two bedroom house is at a value of ninety-eight thousand dollars, while the three-bedroom house is one hundred and eight thousand dollars at a four percent financing.  There is a process and criteria that must be met because those successful applicants will also acquire title to the property.


Carol Babb

Dr. Carol Babb, Member, Credit Committee, H.R.C.U.

“Honestly we haven’t seen a housing project like this in many years. So it is a great opportunity for all member owners. My advice is to take advantage of it, pay promptly, make sure you make your pledge payment monthly and this will be the home of your dream.”


Duane Moody

“How will they get selected?”


Dr. Carol Babb

“It will depend on your ability to make the pledge payment. We will have to look at your salary; can you afford it. Are you a member that has a good history with the credit union? Those are some of the things that we will look at.”


Wendy Castillo

“We believe as a board, and looking at the investment climate in Belize, at four percent, any middle class family or person working can afford these homes, Duane. It is four percent over a period of time. It is done on the overall concept of higher purchase. So you get to pay…what people are paying in five and six hundred dollars; they can afford these homes because in the city, you cannot get a decent three bedroom house for six hundred dollars.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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