Housing, Access to finance, land and secure tenure

The following briefs highlight selected good and best practices in the provision of housing in the provision of housing, secure tenure and tenancy and housing finance.

The briefs are intended to:

• Illustrate innovative approaches to the provision of housing and basic urban services;
• Facilitate the exchange of lessons learned from experience;
• Promote policy dialogue and change.

Most of the practices featured here focus on the improvement of low-income urban settlements and slums upgrading .They provide insights to how community participation, public-private partnerships and the use of information in decision-making can facilitate access to housing and basic services by the urban poor. Many of them also highlight the importance of promoting gender equality and social inclusion.

The briefs are selected from a collection of 1800+ good and best practices from 140 countries illustrating how people, communities, local authorities and government agencies are implementing the Habitat Agenda.

The briefs are organised according to the following categories:

• Access to secure tenure
• Access to land and finance
• Access to basic services
• Analysis of emerging trends and policy responses

Other learning tools include: case studies and casebooks, transfer tools and methodologies, articles and reports.

Access To Secure Tenure

FAWOS - Preventing Homelessness in Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the capital city of Austria with a population of 1.65 million. During the 1980s, the number of the homeless in Vienna increased sharply. More and more women and children as well as persons with regular jobs became homeless, exacerbated by problems such as alcohol and drug abuse. Before FAWOS started its work in 1996, two thirds of all scheduled evictions from dwellings were actually carried out. In Vienna alone, 20,000 cases on rent default were brought before the court each year. Almost half of these cases result in a verdict allowing the landlords to evict tenants from their premises. As a result, each year some 4,000 families lost their apartments and had to look for new homes or seek refuge in shelters. Debts, low income and other financial problems are the most common causes of evictions in Vienna.

In response, FAWOS offers a standardised procedure and rapid, efficient help to persons facing eviction. Under the current legal provisions, the district courts notify FAWOS of court-issued execution titles and eviction dates relating to dwellings. Measures to help clients retain their dwellings include: counselling on legal aspects; information on available financial support and client entitlement to benefits; household planning; short-term, intensive social work and ad hoc financial support. The Volkshilfe Wien charity was the organising body for the pilot project. The project was financed using resources earmarked for housing research while the Local Authority provided staff to work on the project. Compared with the 1995 figures, FAWOS succeeded in reducing evictions from 61 percent of cases to 36.5 percent in the first year and 25 percent in the following years. In 67 percent of all cases of eviction, FAWOS was able to provide the evicted tenants with a council flat through the Social Necessities Unit. FAWOS was instrumental in lobbying for amendment of the Tenancy Law (Article 34/3) to require notification as soon as eviction proceedings are instituted. The amendment of the legal provisions saw the extension of time limit for appeals against lease terminations from two to four weeks. In 2000 the intended repeal of the Tenancy Act, to incorporate oppressive clauses, by the Government was abandoned after intensive lobbying by FAWOS and other social instititutions in Austria.

FAWOS is an excellent example demonstrating how civil society organisations can effectively work together with government offices at the local level. This case emphasises the fundamental role of access to information in improving people's lives and to involving them in decision-making processes. This case also demonstrates the potential of enabling approach (promotion of self-help) as well as efforts to reduce/prevent discrimination in the housing sector, particularly in the prevention of evictions. Since 1998, FAWOS has extended its activities from two Viennese districts to the whole city. While prevention of homelessness in buildings owned by the City of Vienna (220,000 dwellings) is now the responsibility of the Municipal Department for social concerns, FAWOS is working with the inhabitants of privately owned buildings and buildings owned by housing associations (530,000 dwellings). The scaling up of the program to the whole city shows the same encouraging success as the pilot project.

Contact: Renate U.Kitzmann
Fax: +43/1/2185690-85030
Email: mab-soz@m12.magwien.gv.at

Back to top

Reconstruction of Private Houses in Sarajevo - Bosnia and Herzegovina

The reconstruction of private houses in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina started in 1997 when the Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) established a Building Team office in Sarajevo in the fall of 1994 in this war-ravaged town. The office was staffed with four Bosnian architects and a project manager. In the beginning, work was targeted at providing and improving educational conditions through school rehabilitation projects. Since 1996 the scale of operations has expanded to include the reconstruction of houses (13,500 or 80% of the housing stock had been destroyed), mainly to help accommodate returning refugees and internally displaced people. The municipal authority of Sarajevo took over the responsibility for selection of houses, owner and property issues, to prepare individual bill of quantities, to provide a central store for building materials and to organise distribution of the materials to house owners. Labour for reconstruction was provided by the able bodied members of the community that had remained behind during the civil war. For each house, a card with name and address, description of damage and quantity of building material required for reconstruction was prepared. The UNHCR housing standard was applied in the rehabilitation process i.e. roof and façade repair, provision of two rooms, kitchen, bathroom and necessary installations of each house. From the planned 500 houses the project resulted in reconstruction of 603 houses, providing more than 2000 residents with normal living conditions. Refugees, minority ethnic groups, the elderly and the handicapped, benefited from this programme. Success was realised due to the synergetic participation of residents, contractors, NPA, Municipality of Sarajevo and the private construction sector.

Contact: Asgerd Vetlejord
Tel: +47 22 03 76 46
Fax: +47 22 20 08 70
E-mail: asgerd.vetlejord@npaid.org

Back to top

Socialised and Incremental Housing Project - Philippines

The Island of Negros in Southern Philippines was a simmering social volcano in the 1980's. The Negros Occidental Island covers a total area of 7,926 sq. km and is the fourth largest province in Philippines. Poverty was high affecting over 60% of the population (2,672,178 people). Martial law was effected at one time because of civil insurgency. The province had high unemployment rates and suffered from other health and education related social problems. The marginalised families had no access to housing while low and middle income groups found the cost of housing prohibitive. The Socialised and Incremental Housing Project, using alternative technology, was launched in 1993 in partnership with MISEREOR and implemented in 1995 in collaboration with the government, institutions engaged in socialised housing and the private sector.

The initiative was designed to make housing affordable and accessible to the disadvantaged groups and lower income families in the Island of Negros. The project has served some 2,630 households directly and about 15,780 individuals indirectly. A total of 650 socialised housing units have been constructed for 4 homeowners' associations, while 445 disadvantaged families have received loans for home improvements. The project's employment and income generation component facilitated the formation and strengthening of workers' co-operatives with about 305 members engaged in the production of roof tile and earth block products and the construction of the housing units under the project creating employment to the community. Through the Philippine Undertaking on Social Housing (PUSH), and the Association of Foundations (AF), the MISEREOR Foundation has replicated the project at Cavite and Vigan provinces, respectively. The technology has also been adopted in construction of socialised housing and other structures in the various towns of Negros Occidental in collaboration with other groups.

The initiative demonstrates how the right blend of factors is important for success in shelter provision. These factors include strong capacity for program management, mobilisation of resources, participation of stakeholders and clarity of program focus and goals. It underscores the need for managers to strike a balance between maintaining product affordability and profitability to ensure the sustained delivery of services. It is important to establish strong stakeholders' sense of ownership for effective support and participation.

Contact: Mr. Billy Tusalem,
Tel: (+63) (34) 7294135; 3125265
Fax: (+63) (34) 3126629
E-mail: jflfi@mozcom.com

Back to top

Housing Association of East London (HAEL), East London, South Africa

East London faced an enormous housing backlog, which was estimated at approximately 26,000 households. In addition to this large demand for quality and affordable housing for low and moderate income households, the city, like most South African cities, was characterised by urban sprawl and racial segregation patterns. The Housing Association of East London (HAEL) was established as a non-profit social housing company in 1998 and is a joint initiative between the Netherlands based housing association in South Africa (HASA) and the Buffalo city municipality. HAEL aims at providing quality and affordable rental accommodation to low and moderate-income households in East London.

HAEL embarked on its first social housing project in late 1999. To date, some 438 apartments have been completed at Belgravia Valley comprising of up to two bedroom units varying between 35 and 67 suqare metres in size. Rent for these units range from US$ 66 to US$ 96 per month. The multi-racial project is located within 15 kilometres of the East London CBD. In time, it will contribute greatly towards integrating the whole city into the programme.

A substantial part of the contract was given to a local, previously disadvantaged contractor, with local manufacturers and suppliers participating in the project. Thus, the US$ 3,412,308 project provided a substantial boost for the "struggling" East London economy.

Back to top

Access To Land and Finance

Tanzania-Bondeni Community Land Trust Project and Maweni Squatter Resettlement Scheme, Voi, Kenya

In Kenya, the costs of surveying and land-use planning are prohibitive for majority of Kenyans. This was no exception for Tanzania-Bondeni, a typical informal settlement in the Southern part of Voi town with temporary housing structures, no infrastructure, low-income (half the settlement's 5,000 inhabitants earned less than US$ 40 per month), unemployment (30% of the population) and no legal right to the publicly owned land. Consultations between the community, the local authority, the Ministry of Local Government, and GTZ's Small Town Development Project agreed on a set of principles including the need for land tenure. Various pieces of legislation were used to institutionalise the system and form a Community Land Trust (CLT). CLT comprises of an elected gender sensitive management committee and is administered by registered Trustees who constitute its policy making body. Tanzania-Bondeni Settlement Society members have saved US$ 20,000, paying for surveys to register bona fide structure owners, 46% of whom are women. A development plan was drawn up, roads constructed and piped water supplied to the area, while 565 families have rehabilitated their dwellings through a self-construction community effort. The CLT has been designed in such a way that decisions are subject to checks and balances between the Society members, the Management Committee and the Trustees. This practice demonstrates the communities' potential in mobilising and improving their own housing and access to land. It served as a source of inspiration for the Maweni settlement scheme.

The Residents Committee of the Maweni Group (now a Housing Cooperative) started the Maweni Squatter Resettlement Program. The program is a partnership between the Ministry of Lands and Settlements, the Municipality of Voi and GTZ-STDP, Kenya Wildlife Service and Maweni Community. The group's objective was to secure suitable land to facilitate the provision of housing to the informal settlers. In 1997, land was acquired from the Government, planned, surveyed, demarcated and title deeds issued to the members of the co-operative group. The major difference with the Tanzania-Bondeni initiative is that the Maweni Group opted for individual title deeds. Building standards were also set for the buildings. Achievements of the practice include: a sustainable housing loan scheme; income generation activities for members creating direct employment and raising incomes; decent housing for the squatters using a self-help approach; security of tenure to poor people from the squatter settlement. Overall living conditions have improved for the community as a whole through the provision of safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation; roads, drainage, and waste disposal. The program operates on a cost-recovery basis and is affordable to all beneficiaries. The program is participatory and is becoming economically sustainable - 15 members are fully employed by the project and 70% of the finances come from members' contributions and internally generated funds. Both men and women are actively participating in decision-making processes.

Contact: Mr. Ndedah Oginga Randiki
Tel: 254-147-30107
Fax: 254-147-30334

Back to top

Bureau d'Assistance aux Collectivités pour l'Habitat Social (BAHSO), Senegal

Senegal has a population of 8 million with 40% living in urban areas. Due to the high population growth, the housing programmes initiated by real estate companies in most parts of Senegal did not succeed in meeting demand for housing and land. This situation was worsened by the 1994 economic crisis that put access to shelter and land out of reach for most low-income households. This situation heralded the construction of temporary housing units on government or privately owned land.

Bureau d'Assistance aux Collectivités pour l'Habitat Social (BAHSO) was established in 1986 within the Ministry of Town Planning and Housing in partnership with UNHABITAT, German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) and the Government of Senegal. BAHSO's mission is to assist the co-operative societies in the implementation of their building programmes related to accessing serviced parcels of land, housing and infrastructure. BAHSO operates on a national scale handling administrative and financial processes for purchase of land and houses, training and supervising co-operative members in building construction and ensuring popularisation of new building technologies. Within the framework of a partnership between the State, donors, civic/social partners and the different actors, BAHSO has a specific approach ranging from the setting up of co-operatives, mobilisation of savings, participatory design of construction-related operations to delivery of houses. From 1986 to 1994, BAHSO operated mainly in the Dakar region and expanded its activities to other interior regions of Senegal through the "Women and Housing" Programme sponsored by UNHABITAT in 1995. Currently, BAHSO supervises over 350 housing co-operatives through Senegal's ten regions. These co-operatives have over 40,000 members and aggregate savings of about 10.6 million US dollars deposited in various banks.

BAHSO's support is based on a free and voluntary affiliation of co-operative members. In this regard, BAHSO has played a part in the construction of over 3,000 houses and acquisition of 4,500 serviced plots. The initiative is being replicated in Mali.

Contact: Jérôme NZALLY
Tel.: (221) 822 22 46
E-mail: muhdch@primature.sn

Back to top

Linking Community-Based Housing Finance to Formal Finance Mechanisms in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Bolivia is located in the central region of South America. Its surface area is 1,098,581 sq. metres, inhabited by six million people. 61% of the Bolivian population live in urban areas. Cochabamba is one of the major urban areas in Bolivia, with up to 70% of the population living in poor housing conditions. 30% of the population in Bolivia do not own houses, and most of the families face problems related to housing quality (design), construction material quality, and deficient access to basic services (drinking water, sewerage, and electricity). The government's policies and institutions on improving housing conditions have failed and it has been encouraging the private sector to take a leading role in providing credit for improving housing. Towards this end, the government has enacted enabling legislation aimed at creating favourable conditions to strengthen the financial services at the municipal level by modernising the real estate records, and making the national guarantee system more flexible, among others.

A new approach to providing access to housing finance for low-income households has been developed by an international NGO, Homeless International. In co-operation with local partners (a finance institution, a local NGO and a community based organisation), Homeless International provides a guarantee to El Fondo, a financial institution, which in turn lends to the community- based organisation or even individual borrowers from a community. Under the agreement Homeless International has provided a deposit of $50,000 as a guarantee for El Fondo's loan provided by funds made available by two United Kingdom based housing organisations. The guarantee fund enables El Fondo to provide credits at an interest rate of 11% for periods of 12-18 months. El Fondo's participation was based on the track record of Prohabitat which had shown that loans of between $500 to $700 per family enable a gradual improvement in the quality of their homes. Once borrowers had completed repaying their loans, they were eligible for further credit. The borrowing requirements include having a site available for house construction or, in the case of renovation loans, having a house that needs work to internal fixtures, like floors, roofs or walls.

This approach ensures the availability of low interest loans without a mortgage or need for security. Families need only to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan. Around 100 families with scarce resources have now been able to access credit granted by the Bolivian financial institution, "El Fondo de la Comunidad" through Homeless International's partner Organisation Fundacion Prohabitat, for the construction or renovation of houses in Cochabamba. Fundacion ProHabitat and other NGOs specializing in financial services, have acquired experience and a new suitable financial system, to work with low income families and with a variety of credit lines, especially for housing.

Back to top

Access to Basic Services

Housing, Infrastructure and Poverty Eradication in Villages and Slum Areas of Teresina, Piauí, Brazil

Teresina city is the capital of Piaui Province in north-eastern Brazil; one of the poorer regions of Brazil with a per capita income of $840 per year compared to the national average of $2,924. Approximately 17.7% of Teresina's total population of 700,000 consists of unemployed and underemployed individuals who live in sub-human conditions and in sub-normal areas. There are 29,095 families, with an extremely low family income of less than US$ 163 per month concentrated in peripheral areas of the city, villages and slums. Most of these families have been living for years in very precarious housing conditions.

The main purpose of this initiative, since January 1997, has been to consolidate existing villages and slum areas in Teresina, northern Brazil, into neighbourhoods replete with basic urban services so as to promote local social-economic development. The project was implemented in collaboration with the federal and local governments, local communities and the private construction sector.

Results achieved to date include:
• implementation of a suburban renewal plan including infrastructure, community development, education, employment and income generation;
• establishment of a co-responsibility model enabling the involvement of civil society organisations and public authorities in the design and implementation of projects; changes in urban land-use via recovery of degraded areas;
• changes in attitudes and behaviour of population, the empowerment of community leaders and the promotion of human resources development. The initiative has resulted in the improvement of more than 116,000 inhabitants.

These results are attributable to a competent public, entrepreneurial and integrated management that has been capable of promoting effective partnerships between the community, the local authority and central government. The initiative demonstrates how to expand the scale and outreach of urban development in a relatively poor society and to establish a distinct identity in human settlement development.

Contact: George Enrique de Araujo Mendes/ Rosana Maria C. A. Abreu
Tel: 55 86 221 6565/221 6566
Fax: 55 86 221 2783
E-mail: semplan@uol.com.br

Back to top

Slum Networking: Using Slums to Save Cities, India

Indore is the largest city in western Madhya Pradesh state, central India. It has a population of over one million inhabitants (population of 1,086,673 (1991)). Indore city suffered from proliferation of slums, infrastructural deficiencies, poor sanitation and solid waste disposal, water shortages, polluted natural water courses, water logging in monsoons, frequent epidemics, inadequate health care, depletion of green areas, poor roads and transportation, dust and air pollution, growing illiteracy and lack of support for the social and economic development of the disadvantaged communities. Slum Networking was adopted in 1989 to solve the myriad environmental and socio-economic problems facing the city. It is an on going innovative concept that exploits the linkage between the slums, natural drainage paths which influence the urban infrastructure and the environmental fabric of the city. The close correlation between the slum locations and the natural drainage paths of the city helped to build up low cost service trunks, particularly for gravity based systems of sewerage and storm drainage, together with environmental improvements such as creation of fresh water bodies, cleaning up of polluted rivers, development of green pedestrian spines and restoration of waterfront structures. The slum-networking programme benefited over 450,000 slum dwellers and it was a synergic partnership between the Legislative Assembly, community members and private stakeholders. The community members formed cooperative groups that operate revolving fund schemes. Linkages have been formed between individual families and societies with established financial insitutions e.g. Self Employed Women?s Association (SEWA) among others while Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) financed housing provision and improvement in the region.

The success of the networking programme was achieved through dovetailing it into other related schemes that were in existence including community development initiatives, town planning and land acts, environmental remediation initiatives, low cost housing loans, education programmes and infrastructure provision. Slum Networking has been replicated in Baroda and Ahmedabad while similar success with levels of self sufficiency and the degree of community control have been increasing.

Contact: Himanshu Parikh
Tel.: 91 79 6563590
Fax: 91 79 6440263
Email: hhp@vsnl.com

Back to top

Adequate Shelter for All - Barbados

The Greater Bridgetown Area, Barbados, consists of 3,462 hectares and has a population of 103,000 which represents 40% of the island's inhabitants. This urban population comprises of 33,600 households of which 13,000 (39%) are pensioners. The housing stock is aging with some 17,500 houses from a known 26,300 being more than 15 years old as at 1995, suggesting a high repair rate. Within the 33,600 households, approximately 5,000 pit latrines still exist as a reflection of the pockets of poverty that can be found in the urban landscape. There exists an affordability gap between the cost of new housing and the incomes of the urban poor. Other issues/problems that confront this target group relate to the lack of security of tenure faced by occupiers of rented land where six or more households rent the land from a single landowner, more familiarly and legally known as "tenantries" within the Barbadian context.

The Urban Development Commission was established in August of 1997 as a parastatal agency in response to a perceived need to improve the standard of living and quality of life of communities within a defined urban area called the Greater Bridgetown Area. Legislation was enacted first in 1980 and subsequently in 1997 to facilitate both the above overall goal and secondly, to provide the operational mechanism, through the formation of the Urban Development Commission, by which government would seek to realise its objectives. The Government involved the civil society in the planning of a new vision for the urban area through the formation of an Urban Renewal Committee that had a broad representation of all stakeholders.

Hailed as a revolutionary piece of social legislation, the 1980 Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act created a right for tenants on both plantation and other tenantries to purchase the lots on which they had resided for a period of 5 consecutive out of 7 years prior to 1980 or anytime thereafter. In the case of the plantation tenant, the statutory price was Barbados $1.00 (US .50c) per square metre and for the non-plantation tenant, at the open market price. In respect of the security of tenure, the Government, through the Commission, has instituted the policy of subsidising the sale price of lots in urban tenantries. Quantitative results of the urban renewal programme include construction and upgrading of 397 houses, construction of sewerage facilities and improvement of roads. The Urban Development Commission also established the Urban Enterprise Loan Fund to provide loan funds to the urban population for investment in and the development of small business enterprise with a ceiling borrowing limit of Barbados $ 25,000 (US$ 12,500). Housing development loans were also made available with a ceiling-borrowing limit of US$ 30,000 where a total of 400 loan applications were approved and funds disbursed. The role of enabling legislation on access to land by the poor is clearly demonstrated in this practice.

Contact: Mrs. Margaret Talma
Tel: 228-8285
Fax: 228-8284
Email: udc37@sunbeach.net

Back to top

Popular Habitat Program - Costa Rica

Building houses is not an end but a means to achieve community development. With a population of 3,015,000 in Costa Rica, the housing shortage reached a critical stage following the financial crisis of the eighties, which resulted in the emergence of marginal areas and slums in the city of San Jose. This shortage effected the least favoured classes of the population, exacerbating their social exclusion.

Families are actively involved in the programming, execution and administration of the Popular Habitat Program. The programme started off in 1988 as a bilateral assistance project to construct new housing for low-income families and to remediate the housing shortage in the city. To date the community is becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of the programme. Alternative methods of financing are being pursued and obtained to scale up and to sustain the project, resulting in the establishment of a revolving fund managed under a trusteeship.

Over 17,000 families have gained access to decent housing, helping to reduce the housing shortage in the city. The participatory nature and a strong emphasis on community capacity building, enabled over 30,000 of the newly housed people have training in various fields related to operations and maintenance, project management and administration. This has created employment and increased income. Community participation and capacity building have considerably strengthened community spirit and involvement in civic affairs and in improving the overall living environment. Another spin-off of the participatory process is the unique approach where each neighbourhood designs its own housing projects demonstrating that there can be no single model in responding to housing needs and demand. The needs of the poor vary just as much if not more than other segments of the population and housing solutions will vary according to the conditions, desires and necessities of the individual. Several international entities and institutions have studied the model of the Popular Habitat Programme and its principles have been adopted by other projects in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and South Africa. The experience of this programme has been taken into account for NGO training in the area of housing and development of Human Settlements

Contact Person: Eloísa Ulibarri Pernús
Telephone: (506) 247-00-00
Fax: (506) 236-51-78
E-mail: Fuprovi@fuprovi.org

Back to top

National Program for Low Energy and Material Consumption for Housing - Cuba

The housing problem in Cuba has been very critical for quite some time. This situation was further exacerbated by the demise of the Soviet Union and of favorable trade terms and foreign assistance. In 1992, the National Institute of Housing established a National Program for Low Energy and Material Consumption for Housing taking into account the possibilities and the objective conditions facing the island. Over 50,000 new homes have since been built using the scarce resources available in a rational and sustainable manner.

Since its inception the program has developed different and creative construction techniques and systems with low energy consumption and resource optimization and substitution. These new techniques have been applied not only in the construction of the new housing but also in reconstruction and rehabilitation of old housing stock.

The participation of different municipalities and neighborhood associations has been key to the success of the program.

The housing project:
• represents a participatory approach that opens the institutional framework of the state to community organizations and families that the program is designed to help. This participation is at the source of the programme's success in improving living conditions of entire neighborhoods, families and individuals;
• innovative approaches and techniques for low energy use in construction have been developed and tested that can be used in other areas of the world to reduce energy consumption in construction; - the program has been implemented on a large scale with a high degree of local acceptance and participation;
• community mobilization resulted in the communication of different housing needs of each community, in differentiated solutions and responses and in improved coordination and cooperation between public, governmental and non-governmental organizations;
• through its tangible impact in housing improvement and its broad-based participatory process changes have been brought about to Cuba's housing policies in support of more sustainable housing construction and use of construction materials.

Back to top

Relocation of Backyard Tenants, Namibia

Walvis Bay is one of the leading industrial centres in Namibia. Due to its well-developed fishing industry the town has over the years, attracted a number of job seekers and people joining relatives and friends from all over the country. The traditional black suburb of Kuisebmond (a legacy of apartheid) in Walvis Bay, has a large influx of migrants. This development plus natural population growth has resulted in an acute housing shortage in Kuisebmond, which in turn, resulted in a phenomenon of "backyard tenants" housed in shelters constructed using scrap building materials. The result was a multitude of problems ranging from overcrowding and fire hazards to overflowing sewer problems. The excessive demand on the sewerage network has caused unnecessary blockages and overflowing of raw sewerage. Flooding of streets and houses has also occurred. Of the total number of 2,126 dwellings in the suburb of Kuisebmond, half were shacks housing 8 253 people. As many as 13 shacks and 43 squatters were found on one single plot. The average was 359 people sharing a single toilet, which created unhygienic conditions and rapid spread of diseases such as tuberculosis.

In March 2000 the Management Committee of the Municipal Council resolved that a action plan be devised for the relocation of "shack dwellers" to a designated settlement area complete with a set of ad hoc policies, financial directives, rules, regulations and administrative procedures. Various meetings were held between Municipal Councillors and Municipal officials culminating in the decision to establish a settlement area where residents would be allowed to erect informal structures built with non-conventional building materials. A Structure Plan and an Action Plan were approved that involved various activities. The Tutaleni Relocation Steering Committee was composed of affected community members and officials and councillors of the local authority. The Committee was tasked with, among other duties, acquiring ministerial approval for a maximum of four units per erf (plot) and the identification of new sites for future extensions. No legislation existed that would allow the Municipal Council to establish a "resettlement" area that is excluded from the provisions of the Town Planning Scheme. As a result, the Town Planning Scheme had to be amended to allow for four units per plot.

The creation of Tutaleni Village has greatly contributed towards solving some of the problems related to backyard squatting. More than 800 families have been relocated successfully and now enjoy amenities that a little more than a year ago seemed unattainable. In addition to safe drinking water, electricity and refuse bins being provided, other amenities for each unit include a shower and basin, indoor toilet and an open cement floor that can be enclosed with non-conventional building materials or concrete blocks. The units are situated in such a way that they are at least five meters away from those on the adjoining erf, in order to allow movement during emergency situations such as fires. Of the 1,010 structures, which were erected on the 1,094 units allocated, 237 consist of brick structures. Tutaleni Village remains municipal property and will be treated as an ongoing project. It is sustained through the joint efforts of the resettled communities, the local authority and the private sector. The recovery of funds by the Council is based on the income levels of tenants, the size of the families, current interest rates, and inflation rate.

Back to top

Post-disaster reconstruction, affordable housing and urban greening of Baotou, China

Baotou (Place of the deer) is the capital of Inner Mongolia, one of China's major industrial centres and the largest in China's autonomous minority regions. It is known as the Steel Capital of the Northwest and harbours the world's largest reserves of rare earth. It covers an area of 167 square kilometres with a population of 2.3 million, made up of several ethnic minorities. Despite rapid industrial and economic growth, the living conditions in the inner city were very poor. Housing consisted, for the majority of the urban population, of one-story brick houses with a quasi-total lack of infrastructure and basic services. On 3 May 1996, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Baotou, levelling the vast majority of these single-story houses and leaving 500,000 people homeless in the metropolitan region.

Despite the urgency of the situation and ongoing humanitarian relief operations, meetings of the municipal council rapidly concluded that the disaster should be turned into an opportunity for the comprehensive upgrading and reconstruction of the city. The Planning Commission, representing all stakeholders and elected representatives, approved a new set of housing and urban development policies, including a radical change in land-use, improved urban infrastructure and services and, for the first time, extensive green space including parks and gardens within the urban center. The Municipal Government provided incentives to real estate developers in the form of tax and construction fee exemptions amounting to 15% to 30% of construction costs. Real Estate Developers, private enterprises, and the municipal government provided funding on a 5:3:2 gearing ratio. A total of 130,000 job were created in the construction sector, providing much needed employment opportunities. Of these, 18.6% benefited women directly. Post-construction employment has risen to 407,000 jobs in all sectors of which 41.2% are occupied by women, a 9.8% increase over 1996 and a relatively high percentage for a city with a vocation in heavy industry.

Under the guidance of the city's master plan, 1.15 million square metres of affordable earthquake resistant (8.0 on the Richter scale) houses were erected during the period from 1996 to 2001, accounting for nearly 50% of the total housing stock. 140 residential districts came into being, each covering an area of 20,000 m2 or more with complete sets of facilities, providing for 30,000 households who previously did not own their housing, as well as 130,000 households who were in need of better housing. The per capita floor space increased to 22 square metres in 2001 from 16 square metres in 1995 and the building of affordable housing has become one of the municipality's major policies to improve the living environment. Within the inner city core of 1.64 square kilometres, 13,600 families were re-housed in adjacent housing estates, allowing for the re-use of 630,000 square metres for new urban development and green space. As a result of the mobilization and participation of the entire population and of women in particular, women now occupy 25.4% of technical and supervisory posts in the public sector, a marked improvement over the past and an incentive to further improve this ratio in the future. 99% of all residences are connected to piped water supply; over 80% of all homes in the city are connected to district heating and 70% to piped gas, contributing to vastly improved air quality. 80% of residential areas are connected to sewers and 65% of the sewage is treated, with an additional sewage treatment plant under construction.

One of the key area of the initiative has been the one-stop shop to facilitate access to and the processing of housing loans, mortgages and access to insurance and providence funds. This one-stop-shop has since been institutionalized in the form of a real estate management bureau providing all the financial, legal and administrative services required to buy, sell or rent any form of commercial, residential and industrial property.

Back to top

Strategies to combat Homelessness and exclusion, Mannheim, Germany

Ludwig Jolly Street is located in the periphery of the Neckarstadt-West district of the city of Mannheim between a main traffic artery and a red-light district. The Ludwig Jolly Facility situated in the area was characterised by insecurity, overcrowded housing accommodating 330 people from more than 20 different nations in 144 small flats. The houses were had no bathrooms and heating systems. In 1994 actions aimed at preventing homelessness were initiated by the Office for Housing and Urban Development. Previously, various municipal authorities handled different aspects of housing problems. After the "Housing Security" department was established, human resources were mobilized and centralized at the Office for Housing and Urban Development. For many years, dialogue on the future of the Ludwig Jolly Facility centered on whether the buildings should be demolished or restored. As a result of a consultative process, the council undertook a comprehensive restoration and modernization process. The main aim was to find suitable solutions for each individual case while maintaining the then existing accommodation arrangements. Several community information fora were organized to popularise and seek opinion about the plans. A "residents' initiative" was constituted, whose spokesperson brought the special interests of women to attention. Only one building was modernized in the first phase to serve as model. After it's successful completion, the next phase of construction followed. The construction activities were accompanied by social services and civic education that would promote social inclusion and prevent homelessness. Language and literacy courses for children were while day care services were provided for children under the age of 5 years.

The priority was given to the rehabilitation of the existing housing units as opposed to the construction of new houses. As a result of the initiative, the housing units were upgraded to include thermal insulation on the facades of the buildings, fitting of windows with plastic frames and insulation glazing, equipped bathrooms, reinstallation of water supply and sewage piping, and installation of centralised heating supply. The areas around the buildings were landscaped and playgrounds restored. The number of households assigned to emergency accommodations was reduced from 170 to 20.

The educational and community work programme resulted in creation of job opportunities for the youth or apprenticeship after completion of school. Intervention by social workers has reduced conflicts and there has been increased integration of foreign nationals, especially of female migrants into the social fabric. Stigmatisation of the Jolly Street Facility because of its outward appearance has significantly reduced.

Back to top

Participatory Relocation in Samambaia, Brazil

At a distance of 25 km from Brasilia, the Samambaia Administrative Region occupies the southwestern region of the Federal District, covering a total of 104 square kilometers. The urban area of 26 kilometers had only 5,549 inhabitants in 1989 but grew to a population of approximately 163,000 inhabitants in 2000.

The residents of Samambaia are resettled squatters from Brasilia. Confronted with squatting on the extensive public open spaces and gardens that characterise the planned capital, Central Brasilia, the city authorities entered into a dialogue with the squatters. The authorities offered to resettle them in the Samambaia suburb, provided the squatting families agreed that land titles would be given in the name of wives rather than husbands. This was to safeguard against the sale of plots by men. Reportedly, ten years later, few, if any families had sold their plots. The relocated squatters were assisted to move, sites and services were provided, but they had to build their houses themselves. In order to guarantee easy access to the City and employment, a subway has been constructed. The consolidation of the city through government assisted settlement programmes spurred the transformation of the wooden shanties of the early phases into brick and mortar houses, now constituting 85% of the housing stock. The community structures and networks were kept as much as possible intact during the resettlement process.

The city of Samambaia has now a high quality life, a vibrant local economy, a well-established network of schools and a centre for professional skills training. It has ample public open spaces and sports facilities, is well endowed with health facilities and has a good public transportation network.

With the approval of the Samambaia Local Structure Plan in 2001, a range of new initiatives are being executed by the Regional Administration of Samambaia. One of these innovative projects is the "Linhao de Samambaia", which makes efficient use of a strip of land previously reserved for a power transmission line to accommodate approximately 68,000 additional urban residents. Another example is the "Arrendar" project, consisting of 1,350 units with rental housing contracts offering future purchase options, implemented in partnership between the Federal Government and the Government of the Federal District.

These projects are part of a new multi-faceted housing policy of the Federal District, designed to promote better use of existing urban land, to decentralize government action in the field of housing, to optimize employment generation and to ensure synergy with other sectoral policies. This is backed up by a new housing information system to effectively monitor the interventions programmed under the policy.

Back to top

Development Action Groupís Peopleís Housing Process Programme, Cape Town. South Africa

Khayelitsha and Griffiths Mxenge areas of Cape Town cover a total area 1.5 sq. km. and have a total of 55,000 people. The monthly per capita income of the two areas is US$95. There are few formal economic activities in the area and the main economic activities include informal grocery shops, taverns and crèches. People in these areas have lived under appalling circumstances with shacks proving inadequate in protecting the inhabitants from harsh weather conditions. Development Action Groupís (DAGís) Peopleís Housing Process Programme consisted of three housing consolidation projects formed by the communities living in these areas. The projects: Masithembane, Homeless and Squatters Housing Project (HOSHOP) and Sinako Ukuzenzele were initiated in 1997 and implemented in 1999-2002. The main objectives of the projects were to build adequate housing and thus improve living conditions; develop the capacity of the community organizations to manage development processes and stimulate local job creation.

The projects followed the Peopleís Housing Process (PHP) methodology, a community-based form of housing delivery in which beneficiaries initiate, plan, design and implement their projects. DAG provided technical advice and support to community organizations and training to community members. Partnerships between the Peopleís Housing Partnership Trust (PHPT), the Western Cape Provincial Housing Development Board, the Tygerberg Administration within the City of Cape Town together with the community-based organizations have been key to successful implementation of the projects.

A total of 638 houses were built and occupants took part in training and capacity building workshops. Over 70 people were employed as builders in the projects and another 12 people were employed in the 3 Housing Support Centres. Material suppliers in the low cost housing market have subsequently employed community members who worked in the support centers. Approximately 20 people (Housing Support Centre staff and committee members) received 10 days training on the management of housing projects followed by 10 days of practical construction training. In addition, 10 builders in the HOSHOP project and 30 builders in the Masithembane project received in-depth on-site construction skills training over a period of a few months. DAG has subsequently been involved in the capacity building of other communities and local authorities to implement similar projects in other parts of the country. The Kuyasa Fund, a housing loan fund established by DAG, provided savings-linked housing loans to beneficiaries. Womenís leadership was also established and a private material supplier employed two women as facilitators of peopleís housing projects in other communities.

Back to top

From Waste to houses, Cuba.

Cuba is the largest island of the West Indies. Cuba occupies a central location between North and South America and its fertile soil and abundant sugar and tobacco production make it the wealthiest island of the Caribbean. The Republic of Cuba is an archipelago, or group of islands. The main island of Cuba covers 105,006 km2. Cubaís population is 11,263,429 (July 2003 estimates) and the GDP per capita is US$ 2,300 (2002 estimates).

Due to the economic crisis in the early nineties the production of Portland cement was reduced, this in turn affected the production of building materials. Housing programmes were cut back, leaving the general population unable to maintain and repair their apartments and houses. Recurring hurricanes in the province aggravated the situation. The concept of "waste to houses" brings together ecologically viable building materials and house improvement in hurricane prone areas. The Cuban economic crisis in the early nineties affected the manufacture of building materials including Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and spurred Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Estructuras y Materiales (CIDEM) into seeking ecologically and economically viable solutions.

The technologies were developed in a CIDEM applied research programme and included alternative cement made using recycled wastes from the sugar industry. This material can replace up to 40% OPC in hollow concrete blocks without affecting its quality. The waste material is recycled as a fuel, the ashes of which become the pozzolanic raw material needed for the binder. As building materials are not readily available after the increasingly frequent hurricanes, the initiative sought new paradigms for the local building materials market by increasing availability of materials in the local market, enabling owners to privately renovate and repair their dwellings. In effect, it developed a novel strategy for urban intervention.

On the northern coast of Villa Clara province the project promotes production of materials in a decentralized manner, by creating a local network of building materialsí manufacturers. Four workshops that produce blocks, tiles and alternative cement, have been set up and are fully operational in Sagua la Grande, Quemados, Caibarién and Camajuani. The municipal branch of the National Housing Institute (NHI) owns these workshops.

The production focus is combined with introducing flexibility into market structures under the auspices of local governments, in order to empower the homeowners to carry out the necessary repairs themselves. The products are sold mostly to house owners whose houses were damaged by the storm. They have to manage their own constructions; many of them are guided to apply for bank loans to purchase the materials. 1,200 families have renovated their houses through this innovative programme.

Back to top

The full records from which these briefs are extracted as well as many other practices are available at: http://www.bestpractices.org