RETIRED civil servant and single parent, Siteri Burton was one of the 27 Housing Authority customers who had their loans written off this week.
Ms Burton purchased her house in 1984 from Housing Authority.
I would like to thank the government for providing this assistance to homeowners like myself, a single parent, to enable me to now own an asset to my name. I raised all my four children in this house and today I have a daughter in England, a son in New Zealand, another daughter who lives with me and a son who is undertaking a Diploma in Land Survey at the Fiji National University, she said.
I have faced financial difficulties since retiring and I am quite thankful for the help provided to my family.
Ms Burton is attending sewing classes to support herself during her retirement as well as her two children and grandson.
The HA write-off was worth $260,000.
Chief executive, Alipate Naiorosui said 15 homeowners from the Central Division and 12 from the Western Division were being assisted. So far, since the introduction of this policy, a total of 136 Housing Authority home loan accounts have been written off and these 27 cases this month will mean that the policy has provided 163 debt-free homeowners nationwide, Mr Naiorosui said.
As a homeowner, if you have paid over one and a half times the principal loan amount, it is important that you speak with a Housing Authority lending staff to have an assessment carried out to determine if you qualify for financial assistance.
The social housing announced by the Prime Minister in March, 2011 aims to provide direct assistance to Fijian families who are at risk of losing their homes because of retirement, are medically unfit to work or are unemployed.
Initially in 2011, the policy criteria required homeowners to have paid over two times the principal loan amount. Following this, it was revised to one and a half times the principal loan amount to ensure that the policy was able to provide assistance to those families that genuinely needed it.