Redistributive policy

Housing policy should focus on the poor

Housing interventions in Namibia should focus on the neglected lower segment of the market which accounts for nearly 90% of households nationally.

Phillip Luhl, a member of the National Housing Policy (NHP) Review and Development Task Team of Namibia, said this during the Stakeholder Consultative Workshop for the review of the draft National Policy of housing for 2022 and the development of the national strategy for the improvement of informal settlements in Windhoek on Wednesday.

The main responsibility of the work team is to come up with a complete and more responsive NSP (including an implementation plan).

Luhl advised stakeholders to reach priority target groups (very low and low income households) which represent about 88% of households nationally and policy should focus on participatory upgrading of informal settlements to ensure security of tenure and the provision of basic services.

“Providing basic serviced land through incremental new land developments provides security of tenure and allows for easier future upgrading to formalized neighborhoods,” Luhl said.

He said unlocking underutilized land should guide state intervention towards adequate housing in the long term (until 2030), as the policy envisages a fair and transparent system of grants/grants for land urban and housing.

Luhl said the task team’s specific actions include developing a project charter that will outline all of the activities that need to be undertaken to develop the policy and implementation plan.

Another task was to review all existing studies, policies, programs and projects, identify gaps and propose a comprehensive housing policy and implementation plan that will lead to accelerated delivery of affordable housing in the country and submit an NHP project and an implementation plan.

According to Luhl, Namibia’s housing crisis is characterized by high housing costs due to slow and costly delivery of serviced land and negligible production of affordable formal housing, amid high unemployment and underemployment. and extremely low household income levels. “Therefore, the current revision of the NHP has been necessitated by the change in policy direction in the urban land and housing sector, the economic situation requiring greater policy impact with reduced capital expenditure and the need for intensify the delivery of land and housing, among others,” he said.

During the official opening of the two-day workshop, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, urged stakeholders to give their opinion on the draft policy by collectively setting realistic implementation targets and ambitions that reflect respective capacities and commitments to accelerate the delivery of urban land and housing for the majority of Namibians.

“We are starting with the alignment of the National Informal Settlements Upgrading Strategy with the revised NHP during this workshop, as this represents one of the key areas of housing policy intervention to improve living conditions of the majority of residents in the short to medium term.After that, we look forward to the impending policy alignment with urban land reform which will address issues of land redistribution and security, urban densification and the fight against sprawl, intensification of localized urban economies, among others,” he explained.

He said the workshop must also align the upcoming revision of the decentralization policy which structures the relationship between central and local government and the upcoming national spatial development framework which will strategically guide spatial development at the national territorial level to achieve goals. common development.

“In the long term, the ideal might be to have an overarching policy that covers all relevant aspects and combines them into a unified and sustainable approach to urban development. Once we have such a common unitary policy direction, we can develop different strategies related to spatial development, urban land, housing, governance and rural development to focus on these important sectors,” a- he declared.

The workshop brought together officials from the Department of Lands, regional and local councils, the Shack Dwellers Federation and the Minister of Finance.

[email protected]

2022-02-18 Law Jason