While people can manage their own housing construction more cheaply and efficiently than any government agency, they have difficulty obtaining certain key resources. In cities, perhaps the most difficult resource to get is a legal housing plot on which to build. In all settlements, people need water, sanitation, garbage removal and roads, footpaths, electricity and basic social services. They may also need technical advice and small loans. These necessities are too short supply and their cost is far too high: it is here that policymakers need to focus their attention.
The task confronting policymakers is not to envisage large publicly funded house construction programmes - in the past, such programmes have failed to solve the poor's housing problems. The cost of each unit so produced is too high for the low income majority. If subsidies are given so the poor can afford them, few houses can be built and those that are constructed rarely go to those most in need. If the houses are not subdivided, then they are too expensive for all but the rich.