Global problem with low cost housing persists

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low cost housing complex in Kenya

The global problem with low cost housing persists

 Recently we came across an article that exemplifies the notion that we are making headway in the fight to make available low cost housing.  The article, published by Nation Media Group in Kenya presented words by the Housing Minister and others regarding low cost housing.

Low cost Housing Development – The Seefer Apartments

The low cost housing development is called Nation the Seefar Apartments on Mbagathi Way, Nairobi. The developers say, “they are targeting low-income earners with the units, which will cost about Sh4.5 million ($45,000 USD) for a two-bedroom unit. Housing minister Soita Shitanda says this is a step in the right direction.”

The Housing Minister goes on to say, “Ignored and labelled unprofitable, the middle- and low-income economic brackets have suffered the consequences of a disinterested housing industry for too long. Now the government says it will shift its focus to these cadres, who also deserve affordable, modern and stylish living.  The government has lauded developers of middle-income and low-cost housing, pledging to support them in their efforts to enable more Kenyans access decent housing at affordable prices.

The Housing Minister also said the poverty stricken people of Kenya are the “most forgotten of Kenya’s population”.

Incomes and Low Cost Housing do not add up.

So one has to wonder how, when as of 2010 67.2% (World Bank 2005) of Kenyans earned less than $2.00 USD per day how $45,ooo USD seems to fit in the low cost housing category.  The simple fact is it doesn’t.

Consider this:  A person in the US making $50,000 per year with no debt and no savings can technically afford a home 3-4 times their annual income.  This would suggest that affordable housing would be around $150,000 to $200,000 USD.  Comparatively at $2.00 USD per day the annual income would be about $1,200 USD and an affordable low cost housing range would be about $3,600 to $4,800 USD.  This is a very long way away from the $45,000 low cost housing units be discussed.

So what can you purchase in the US for $4,800 dollars;  a house, a car?  How about a couple of flat screen televisions.  Yes indeed.  So this then brings up two important concerns.  How do we make low cost housing affordable and how to we lower the cost of housing to the point where poor people living in poverty can afford the home?

Both of these challenges are what Shelter the world is focused on.  We are raising the awareness of the housing problems in the world and are developing affordable solutions to use housing as an income producing activity for those living in poverty at the same time making available truly adequate low cost housing.

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