Improving access to shelter for poor

Reducing cost of housing for the poor
Providing housing for the poor
Offering adequate cheap accommodation
Increasing stock of low-income housing
Providing sufficient affordable accommodation
Providing low income housing
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Khuda Ki Basti (KKB), meaning God's Colony, represents a pioneering attempt on the part of Hyderabad Development Authority (HDA), Pakistan, to solve the housing problems of the lowest stratum of the urban poor. Its objective is to help the shelterless acquire legal titles to residential lots, with a minimum affordable down payment, where the families can immediately construct their houses. According to the HDA, the entire scheme is self-financed. It comprises 2,200 hectares (laid out as 70,000 plots). Three years after it began (1986), 3,826 plots had been allocated with construction begun on 2,094. A sum of US$ 8,385 had been advanced in loans ranging between US$ 55 and US$ 940. The rate of recovery of loan has been over 90%. These achievements should be viewed in contrast to the rest of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal scheme, in which, by March 1988, almost 11,600 plots had been provided by the public sector and 400 hectares of land given to the cooperative societies, but neither construction on allocated plots nor any development scheme had been initiated.

The concept of financial affordability is characterized by two main features: a minimum down payment fixed at US$ 50 to cover the basic shelter package cost; and regular monthly instalments of US$ 2,50 to US$ 5, based on the means to pay of the beneficiaries, toward the total cost of the plot amounting to US$ 450. The basic shelter package comprises three main components: 1. The plot, with the availability of potable water by public transport and a WC with sanitary latrine; 2. Compulsory savings in the form of a regular monthly instalment, preferably through a bank account operated jointly by designated representative and sponsors of the scheme; 3. A bulk contribution by the residents for the desired level and type of services. Decision regarding the provision of various types of services, the allocation of funds, the level of services and their spatial distribution are taken with the active and direct participation of the residents during open meetings. This is done through representatives elected during meetings of the residents and the HDA. The development of services is undertaken by skilled labour from the community, which ensures economy and better workmanship and provides job opportunities for the residents. This has generated employment for 117 persons (including 48 women). Separate accounts are maintained for each block and are operated by the block's nominee and the HDA project manager. Block organizations are also responsible for maintaining the services and action against defaulters. Community participation is thus ensured from the planning and execution stages, through to maintenance and cost recovery.

The process of assigning plots consists of four steps: (a) identification of families earning about US$ 50 per month and in urgent need of housing; (b) temporary lodging in two types of reception areas: open land where the family can install a makeshift house or accommodation in a two room "pucca" concrete house with latrine and in-house water tap; (c) assessment of eligibility of the HDA; (d) allotment to eligible families of a regular plot of around 70 square metres. The construction of housing is flexible. It must be started immediately after allotment of the plot. No rigid or conventional planning or building regulations are applied and the house builders can use concrete, mud, reed or even cardboard as building materials. The structures can be improved, modified or extended as the financial capability of the family improves.

Maximum encouragement is provided to the residents to provide services and utilities for their homes on a do-it-yourself basis, particularly for sanitation, garbage disposal, electricity and even road building. In 1990, it was reported that there was a network of around 15,000 metres of water supply lines, 5,750 metres of sewerage and 4,100 metres of electricity lines. 23 schools of various levels were functioning with a total enrolment of 872 students and 43 teachers. Health services were being provided by 5 private doctors, 5 paramedics, 2 clinics, 3 mobile clinics and an ambulance. Small scale enterprises provide transport between KKB and Hyderabad.

All countries should, as appropriate, facilitate access of urban and rural poor, the unemployed and the no-income group to shelter by adopting and utilizing housing and finance schemes and new innovative mechanisms adapted to their circumstances. This would include adapting existing codes and regulations to facilitate their access to land, to finance and to low-cost building materials and by actively promoting the regularization and upgrading of informal settlements and urban slums as an expedient measure and pragmatic solution to the urban shelter deficit. Efforts should be accelerated to promote access to land by the urban and rural poor, including credit schemes for the purchase of land and for building/acquiring or improving safe and healthy shelter and infrastructure services.
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal