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Housing refers to houses or buildings collectively; accommodation of people; planning or provision of accommodation by an authority; and related meanings. The social issue is of ensuring that members of society have a home in which to live, whether this is a house, or some other kind of dwelling, lodging, or shelter. Many governments have one or more housing authorities, sometimes also called a housing ministry, or housing department.
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Improved access to affordable housing can help urban families escape the uncertainty of slum life. To this end, we support the development of an affordable housing sector, primarily through a focus on commercially viable home-financing options for the poor. We also indirectly support housing developer, mortgage finance institution and public sector efforts to address the housing needs of India’s urban poor. The goal is to catalyze an ecosystem of responsible, market-based solutions to address the real needs of India’s urban poor.

We support better access to affordable housing to improve the quality of life for India’s urban poor. Our strategy is focused on funding initiatives that will catalyze a market-based solution to India’s housing crisis.
84 India is home to more than 400 million youth aged 15 to 29; it’s also a country with a major skills gap. To address the gap and transform the youth bulge into a productive workforce, the government has set a goal of providing vocational training to 500 million young people by 2022.

To further this initiative, we work with organizations that train youngsters (and track and analyze their graduates’ outcomes) for employment in growth industries like retail, hospitality, manufacturing and outsourcing. Key partners in India include the National Skill Development Corporation, which is a private-government initiative, Dr. Reddy’s Foundation (DRF), GRAS and the CAP Foundation.

We seek to increase the opportunity for Indian youth to gain meaningful employment. To do this we invest in scalable, sustainable programs that provide vocational and employable skills development.

Brewarrina Specialist Homlessness Service (SHS)

The target group for the Brewarrina Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) is individuals and families that are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, and people who are experiencing Domestic Violence that places them at risk of becoming homeless.

“Ngura House” is a short term crisis accommodation house that provides advice and information to people at risk of becoming homeless, we promote community awareness of homelessness in and around the Brewarrina district.

Shelter is another basic need that many times communities lack, especially after disasters. Some of the EWB International projects include building shelters and new homes from sustainable local materials that are also weather proof and cheap to build in order to fit the local conditions.
Access to basic crops and food is a basic right. Many communities lack skills and resources in order to develop their own food sources. EWB International members work on projects that aim to improve food security by helping to establish sustainable agriculture area, conducting farming workshops, and connecting with food related NGOs to partner with communities.

Housing & Sanitation
Secured shelter is a primary basic need for a stable lifestyle, yet it is something that is often lacking in rural areas. ASSIST has found that housing not only provides security from natural calamities such as floods, cyclones and fires (which are common in the target areas), but it instils a sense of pride and dignity among families, giving them confidence to focus on other development activities that can better their lives.

ASSIST promotes ownership for housing by encouraging target communities to seek out maximum Government support for funding, to lead planning, and to contribute by way of local funds and labour. Once a community has shown initiative in these different respects, ASSIST then provides matching support and assistance to cover any shortfalls for the construction of housing. As an added measure, ASSIST promotes the construction and use of sanitary facilities at the household, school and community levels. In particular, sanitation activities include:

Sensitisation on the importance of hygiene, personal and environmental sanitation
Provision of household latrines
Construction of sanitary installations in schools, along with classes on safe hygiene practices for the students
Construction of community sanitary complex in semi-urban areas where latrines are not provided
Promotion of ecologically friendly solutions to waste disposa

Improvement for Women Members of Poor Self Help Groups in Ranchi. This project aims to improve the living conditions of families living in slum areas in Ranchi, Jharkhand's capital, through improving the capacities of local SHGs and providing them with revolving funds. With support from Oak Foundation, UK, the project has provided funds to 225 households in 10 slums in Ranchi in order to repair, renovate and expand their homes, to improve their water supply, toilet facilities and strengthen existing, emerging and drains and to dormant SHGs.

Mathrudhan Social Housing Project
There are a large number of persons in Bangalore, reasonably well educated, employed in lower level salaried jobs, who find it a great struggle to own and live in decent houses in view of high cost of living. As the MSS had received land from the Archdiocese of Bangalore on the outskirts of Bangalore, it conceived the idea of providing low cost housing to this category of persons who do not own houses. Battered women, widows and their families are given preference. The land is a gift from the Archdiocese to the beneficiaries.

Sanctioned plans from the BDA have been obtained for development of 50 sites and 2 Apartment buildings with 9 flats each. One block of 9 flats has been completed, and the flats allotted are occupied. The foundation has been laid for Block 2.

The roads, drains, sewage lines, electrical connection, bore wells and other development works have been completed. The sites have been allotted and registered in the names of the beneficiaries.

SAMPARC™ initiated a low cost housing project with the help of Habitat For Humanity & Jimmy Carter Work project near Malavli Railway Station for economically poor people to build their own houses. This has now been registered as a housing society governed by women. In the year 2007 Abhinav English Medium School has been started in the same premises with an aim to provide education to local village students so that they can get the benefit of studying in English Medium School. At present 74 children from Housing Project & surrounding areas attend the school. 1st std has been introduced this year.

Demographic And Economic Challenges: The 9th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey
Among the 337 Metropolitan markets analyzed, Hong Kong remained the most unaffordable, with a median multiple (median house price divided by pre-tax median household income) of 13.5, up nearly a full point from last year's 12.6. No other housing market has ever reached such an intense level of unaffordability since the Survey began (Los Angeles reached 11.5 in 2007).

Rounding out the least affordable major markets (over 1,000,000 population) were Vancouver at 9.5, Sydney at 8.3, San Jose (US) at 7.9, and a tie in fifth place between San Francisco and London (Greater London Authority) at 7.8. The most affordable markets were Detroit at 1.5 (Note 1); Atlanta, at 2.0 (Note 2); and Cincinnati, Rochester (US), and St. Louis at 2.5 (Figure 1).

Of all nations, only the United States has affordable major markets and a strong representation in the moderately unaffordable category. Six major markets in the United States were rated in the severely unaffordable category, including San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and New York.
Canada had two markets rated moderately unaffordable, while one half of its major markets were rated severely unaffordable, including Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal. Ireland's one major market, Dublin, was rated moderately unaffordable.

One half of the major markets in the United Kingdom were also rated severely unaffordable, including London (GLA), Plymouth & Devon, the London Exurbs (Southeast and East of England), Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Sheffield. All of the major markets in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide), China (Hong Kong), and New Zealand (Auckland) were rated severely unaffordable (Table 2).

Hong Kong and Singapore are the world's largest city-states. An analysis of a large share of the Singapore market suggests a median multiple of approximately 6.0, which is substantially more affordable than Hong Kong.
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Urban Housing Challenges and Opportunities in Developing Countries
On behalf of the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, I wish to congratulate the organizers of the present workshop on urban housing for a very timely initiative. at UN-HABITAT, we believe that the issues of housing and urbanization should be placed at the top of the development agenda of most African countries which are currently experiencing a rapid urban transition.

The urban population of Kenya is expected to increase from 10 million (one third of the total population) in the year 2000 to 21.7 million (51 per cent of the total population) in 2020. this represents an average increase of 600,000 people per year in urban areas. Even if these statistical projections are not fully accurate, they give an idea of the challenges ahead of all policy-makers.

The Istanbul+5 review, undertaken by the United Nations in 2001, has shown that many countries have formulated comprehensive housing policies and strategies. Many of these policies and strategies even include an appropriate recognition of facts and an assessment of the limitations that should set the framework for realistic implementation processes. These policy and strategy documents, however, have been only partly turned into action.

As UN-HABITAT’s experience over the world indicates, the most important factor limiting progress in improving housing and living conditions of low income groups particularly in informal settlements and slums is the lack of sufficient political will to address the issue in a fundamentally structured, sustainable and large scale manner.

There is no doubt that political will combined with local ownership and leadership, and the mobilisation of the potential and capacity of all stakeholders, particularly the people themselves, are the key to success. lessons from several countries underscore the importance and the fundamental role of sustained political will and commitment.

One crucial and common shortcoming in the housing sector is the inadequacy and limitations of housing finance mechanisms. the fact that conventional housing finance usually works in favour of middle and high income groups is reflected in highly segmented housing markets. the poor, low- and even middle-income majority of the population in most developing countries cannot afford a loan even for the least expensive commercially built housing units. Consequently, many low- or even middle-income households build their own houses progressively over long periods – as long as ten to fifteen years, or as is the case for the majority of the low-income population in many cities, they are simply tenants. Upgrading initiatives should not rely entirely on governmental subsidies or on full recovery from slum dwellers.

Progressive municipal finance, cross-subsidy mechanisms, micro-credit schemes and beneficiary contributions should be associated to ensure financial viability.

Security of tenure is another fundamental challenge in urban housing. Promoting security of tenure is a prerequisite for sustainable improvement of housing and environmental conditions. Squatter upgrading projects need to be carried out and these projects should prevent unlawful evictions. Governments should focus on regularization schemes in order to provide incentives to families to invest in their homes and communities. there is no doubt that every effort should be made to ensure optimal use of the housing stock and improve the quality of life in existing settlements.

Another important topic requiring attention is the promotion of rental housing options. Regardless of the nature of existing or new finance mechanisms, the reality for many poor and low-income urban residents remains that adequate housing is simply too expensive to own. The majority of urban residents in many developing countries are actually tenants in the private informal sector. Data on urban housing tenure in developing countries are not very reliable but it is estimated that a considerable number of urban dwellers, probably in the range of 30-50 per cent, are tenants.

There should be no discrimination against private rental housing in the national housing policy and the involvement of tenants and owners in finding solutions prioritizing collective interests should be promoted.

Another major challenge of housing policies is to adopt an adequate approach to urban land management. Due to rapid urbanization, the urban poor are forced to find their shelter in illegal settlements located in a variety of places: customary land, public land reserves, marginal land or in illegal sub-divisions. The resulting growth of informal settlements, primarily in peri-urban locations, is often the response to public inaction, or ineffective interventions that create more problems than they solve. The dynamisation of land markets is a key element of any good housing strategy.

With uncertain or illegal land tenure, the low-income, high-density settlements lack basic infrastructure and services such as drinking water, sanitation and energy. an important obstacle to increasing investment flows in urban basic services has been the reluctance of city authorities to put in place a realistic and sustainable pricing policy that could ensure cost recovery. Ironically, the affluent groups benefit most from under-pricing of basic services such as water supply, as the poor are rarely connected to municipal services and have to rely on the informal market. Generally the poorest city residents pay the highest unit price for services, such as water and energy. Governments should not try to provide top-class infrastructure and services to a minority but should first expand access of needy groups to basic amenities and services.

Mr. President,
Your Excellencies,
After this review of fundamental housing challenges in developing countries, i now wish to give you - based on un-habitat's worldwide experience - a summary of current trends in housing policy around the developing world. Lessons learnt from good policies can guide national and local governments with limited resources when they wish to focus on strategic priorities and make best use of the opportunities offered by the urban economy.

I would like to share with you the eight following principles:

Governments should promote a facilitating legislative and institutional framework in the housing sector;
. They should focus on the development, operation and maintenance of trunk infrastructure (roads and water supply) at city-wide level;
They should support the establishment of fair and transparent municipal finance systems based on equitable land taxation;
Governments and local authorities should design, adopt and implement pro-poor city development strategies, ensuring sufficient availability of public and private land for housing development;
They should build partnerships with the private sector for the management of basic services and utilities, such as water supply, and with private investors and developers for the delivery of both owner-occupied and rental housing;
They should strongly encourage and support the efforts and initiatives of slum-dwellers in the incremental upgrading of their living environment, through technical and financial assistance;
They should provide appropriate incentives to the banking and cooperative sectors, as well as to private foundations and ngos, in order to direct more resources to the housing market;
Finally, in terms of process and method, governments should adopt decentralisation policies, strengthen local authorities and involve all stakeholders in the elaboration, monitoring and evaluation of the housing policy, through consultative and participatory approaches.
UN-HABITAT has a wide range of expertise and documentation on these topics which can be utilized for advocacy, policy advice and capacity-building at various levels.

Mr. President,
Your Excellencies,
to conclude, i wish to recall that the millennium declaration endorsed the 'cities without slums' goal of “improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020”. This figure (100 million) sounds huge, but when compared to the estimated current population of nearly one billion slum dwellers globally, it is a modest and realistic target. It implies addressing the needs of ten percent of the world’s current urban population who suffer from diverse aspects of inadequate shelter, including lack of security of tenure and insufficient access to basic services and infrastructure.

From the outset, it is clear that such a long-term initiative needs to fully involve all stakeholders, first amongst them the slum dwellers and their organisations.

Secondly, all related public authorities at the national, city and local levels should be the locomotives of this process in terms of creating an enabling environment.

Thirdly, all related civil society organisations (including Ngos, research institutes and professional associations) should mobilise their capacity and potential to contribute to these activities.

At this juncture, I wish to appreciate that the government of Kenya is fully committed to this millennium development target through the recently launched Kenya slum upgrading programme, which is supported by UN-HABITAT.

with the guidance of its major initiatives on urban and shelter development namely: the global campaign on urban governance and the global campaign for secure tenure, un-habitat stands ready to increase its cooperation and assist all the stakeholders, primarily the government and local authorities of Kenya, in prioritizing the slum upgrading component of the national housing policy.
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Adam Sampson: The challenges facing housing in 2011
The former CEO of Shelter looks at the big issues facing the sector in the coming year and explains what the government can learn about housing from Vince Cable

While the recent travails of Vince Cable seem to have been fully analysed by the media, the potential consequences for the housing sector have yet to be fully acknowledged. Alone among the new ministerial line-up, Cable came into his role already understanding what ministers in the previous government only belatedly grasped: that the economic health of the nation is inextricably bound up with the way the housing market operates. Whereas Irish and American politicians seem fully attuned to the necessity of reconfiguring housing policy as part of their mechanism for managing the economy, the UK administration – Cable apart – are still showing no signs of melding the two issues. So what's in store for the next 12 months?

Will housing continue to be treated as a mere way of proving the new government's commitment to austerity and to furthering the localism agenda? Cuts to the overall budget are unavoidable: no spending department can resist the overwhelming drive for savings. However, the way those cuts are implemented will be key. The Department for Communities and Local Government must be transformed and made more efficient if the leadership provided by the Homes and Communities Agency is to be preserved.

Supply, particularly supply of social housing, is still critical and supply means finance. Public spending will no longer prop up development so alternative sources of finance must be tapped. We will have to find ways of raising more money from the private sector with innovative schemes such as the one being shaped by socially responsible housing enterprises like the one I chair, C4H. If supply stops through lack of money, the return of house price inflation is inevitable once the recession eases.

But money alone is insufficient. What is needed too is political leadership. Ministers have passed responsibility for decision-making to local rather than national politicians. Next year will prove whether that produces more or, as many fear, less building. They have argued that an incentive-driven approach will produce more housing than a target-driven one. It will be interesting to see if that theory proves correct even when public spending cuts render the government's ability to provide incentives nugatory.

The wisdom of the government's new approach will be fiercely debated in the coming months as the localism bill works its way through the parliamentary process. Thus far, it has had a relatively easy ride. However, the speed at which the prime minister moved to reconsider the housing benefits changes must raise the possibility that a campaign to water down the moves against security of tenure and retain the rights of homeless people to permanent accommodation may bear fruit. If those objectives can be melded with moves to drive up standards in a private rented sector enjoying higher rents and soaring demand, the next 12 months could prove fertile territory for housing campaigners.

Good times for campaigners, then, but bad times for those enduring the worst effects of the recession. We have, as yet, avoided the worst of the threatened repossessions crisis and the full impact of the benefits cuts on rough sleeping has yet to be seen. But as the protections put in place by the previous government are dismantled, as unemployment rises and as interest rates begin their slow crawl back to normality (as will surely happen during the course of 2011), the twin spectres of middle-class homelessness and the return to mass rough sleeping may return to haunt policy-makers and politicians.

Which is where Vince Cable's insight is vital. He understood that it was the impact of ever-increasing house prices on consumer confidence that helped sustain the UK economy through the last recession. He was a keen observer of the way that the unchecked repossessions crises endured in the US and Ireland had devastating effects on their economies. The next 12 months may see the start of a toxic combination of rising mortgage costs, declining house prices and growing repossession rates. Not only would this be a tragedy for housing – particularly if supply simultaneously is allowed to dry up completely – it would be disastrous for the wider economy.
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