INITIATIVE

Habitat for Humanity launches affordable housing support campaign

Seeks to focus mostly on empowering participation of residents of Mukuru informal settlement in Nairobi.

In Summary
  • Kenya has a total housing deficit of two million units, which is growing by about 200,000 units annually.
  • The government intends to fill the gap by delivering 250,000 housing units every year.
Ongoing affordable housing project in Mukuru.
HOUSING LEVY: Ongoing affordable housing project in Mukuru.
Image: TWITTER

Habitat for Humanity Kenya has launched a two-year campaign seeking policy and system changes at county and national levels, in addressing housing deficits for people living in informal settlements.

Dubbed ‘Home Equals’, the initiative also seeks to focus on empowering participation of residents of Mukuru informal settlement in Nairobi on land tenure security, basic services and climate resilience.

The move comes at a time the government is pushing for the affordable housing programme to ensure a reduction of the housing crisis for low to middle-class citizens in the country.

The government says it intends to achieve the goal by delivering 250,000 housing units yearly.

Estimates by the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), shows Kenya has a total housing deficit of two million units, which is growing by about 200,000 units annually.

This against a low supply of only 50,000 units yearly.

According to the National Director, Habitat for Humanity Kenya, Anthony Okoth, the campaign is critical in helping curb the housing deficit, in support of other government efforts in the strive towards affordable housing for all.

“About 60 per cent of the residents in Nairobi for instance, live in informal settlements with that figure continuing to rise primarily due to increased rural-urban migrations in search of better paid employment,” Okoth said.

Reiterating the need of promoting the housing project, he added that these communities have very limited access to basic services such as clean water, sanitation and electricity.

“They also lack land and property rights, often fearing eviction, and face worsening threats from climate change, including droughts and floods.”

To implement the campaign, Habitat for Humanity is partnering with a local grassroots NGO, ‘Akiba Mashinani Trust’, to engage with the Nairobi city county government for the provision of basic services, including access to clean water and sanitation for at least 50,000 households.

The firm further says it is also convening partners in the land sector to help people living in Mukuru to advocate for tenure security.

It insists on prioritizing the enacting and implementation of the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA), an upgrading process developed by residents of Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Kwa Reuben and Viwandani that identified critical pillars for sectoral planning.

Mukuru is home to over 400,000 people or about 100,000 households, 94 per cent of whom are tenants.

In August 2017, the County government of Nairobi declared the informal settlement a Special Planning Area (SPA).

However, the Mukuru residents spoke of lack of participation in the ongoing affordable housing programme in the area, as one of the challenges they face.

Jane Weru, The Executive Director, Akiba Mashinani Trust, affirmed that the campaign which they are in partnership with Habitat for Humanity will seek to address that concern.

“Community participation is critical to boost the odds of success. We are aware that you cannot plan without the people. We look forward to working together and placing the people at the center to support them in achieving their aspirations as outlined in the SPA,” Weru said.

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