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Financing Agreement Signed for Construction of 500 Lower Income Houses Bonaire

FCB Director Ben Oleana gave an overview of the process to get to the desired financing agreement. Photo: Monalisa Domacassé

Kralendijk- The Fundashon Cas Boneriano has finally succeeded in securing the necessary financing to construct 500 homes on the island intended for lower to middle income families.

Friday evening, Fundashon Cas Boneriano director Ben Oleana signed the agreement with a consortium of financiers that was created especially for this purpose.

A visibly satisfied and sometimes emotional Oleana told about the long process that had preceded the financing. “There were days in this long process that I did not want to speak to anyone, and on other days I screamed out of anger. There were even times when I cried out of sheer frustration,” said Oleana.

The persistence of the FCB director ultimately paid off. The agreement with Vidanova bank, Vidanova Pension Fund, Isla Pension Fund and the Dutch Caribbean Pension Fund (PCN) involves the financing of 23 million dollars for the construction of nearly 500 homes. A total of almost 34 million dollars is needed. After long negotiations, the parties agreed on the conditions for granting a loan for a period of 20 years, at a relatively low interest rate of 4.4%. The housing association itself also contributes to the capital needed, which has been built up through good financial policy in recent years.

Concrete agreements

The recently concluded administrative agreement between politicians The Hague and the Executive Council on Bonaire also made a positive contribution. The agreement established the contributions to the project by both the Hague and the local government. The two governments not only provide money and necessary building plots, but will also contribute to the required infrastructure. In addition, after years of debates, a concrete agreement was reached on a system for the provision of rent subsidy, which should guarantee that the homes remain affordable for those who need it most.

The project will be executed in phases in a period of about 7 years. The houses to be built are spread over various neighborhoods on the island.

There is more good news for the Foundation: the first homes are now ready from an earlier project consisting of 76 units financed by the RBC bank. In addition, all homes already managed by the FCB have been given a major refurbishment

Oleana, together with his team, have worked hard in recent years to make the FCB a healthy organization. Arrears in rental payments were all but eliminated and the foundation has its entire accounting system in order, as evidenced by timely and approved auditors’ statements.

State Secretary Knops of the Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations initially did not have too much confidence in the FCB and its plans, but after a number of frank talks with Oleana, he gave his support for the plans. The efforts of FCB and the contributions from both the island government and politics The Hague gave the consortium of financiers sufficient confidence to conclude the agreement, which makes the construction of the houses possible.

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