Pan-African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique is urging the government and players in real estate sector to consider venturing into social housing projects to ensure housing shortage is addressed across all segments.
“The move by the Kenyan government to make ‘decent and affordable’ housing one of its key development pillars under the Big 4 Agenda is a step in the right direction. However, majority of Kenyans might be left out of the government’s housing programmes because of issue of ‘affordability’,” said Shelter Afrique Managing Director Mr. Andrew Chimphondah.
He noted that acute housing supply shortage is often concentrated in the low-income housing market and “if infused into the programmes, social housing will ensure accessibility by all, including the less privileged”.
Housing shortage in Kenya is estimated between 150,000 and 200,000units in urban areas and more than 300,000 units in rural areas. Currently the government and private sectors are providing only 30,000-50,000 units per year- well below the actual demand.
“While real demand is very high among the less privileged, the effective demand – the population that demands housing and is eligible in terms of affordability – is constrained to the middle and upper income segments. This is why the government’s housing projects need to embrace both affordable and social housing elements, Mr. Chimphondah said.
He said Shelter Afrique was focusing more on social housing as a key priority for the company and had made deliberate efforts to expand the supply of low-cost housing and increase access of housing to low-income populations.
“Already, we are partnering with the government and the UN Habitat to develop a social housing scheme within Mavoko Municipality under the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP). We have also extended lines of credit to some private developers for on-lending to projects of social housing nature,”Mr. Chimphondah said.
Affordable housing is one of the key pillars of President Kenyatta’s government. The other pillars under the Big Four Agenda are manufacturing, Universal healthcare and food security-all aimed at boosting Kenya’s development, creating wealth and employment.