Housing: The Need Part IV
- Dr. Chafia Ferhat
- March 6, 2013
- Dr. Chafia Ferhat, housing shortage, housing the need, public housing
- 0 Comments
When I was doing research for my Ph.D on housing policies in Algeria some 25 years ago, I predicted based on existing case studies in other countries, that they will never succeed in solving the problem because of 3 main reasons;
- Firstly, the financial system and financial models were not engaged in the process and are not real contributors to solving the shortage of housing issues;
- Secondly end users are not involved in the process of providing themselves with a shelter;
- The private sector is immature, lacks the experience and does not have good financial backing.
The government in its eagerness to provide relief to people is spending public funds and resources with limited success. There have been enormous efforts to try and minimize the shortage. But when I visit and meet people, I see that their main concern and the issues that are governing their lives are finding a place to live.
I am not talking about uneducated people; I am talking about doctors, architects, engineers …etc! If they can’t get access to public housing, what is available in the private is so expensive and is out of a large portion the populations reach.
They are left with no options.
Whereas Thailand, in a similar period of time, has managed to become one of the few countries to successfully house its low income and poor people. The reasons as demonstrated in my previous blog are related to financial models, the private sector and self help systems, the same 3 reasons because of which the Algerian models is failing.
Algeria with its wealth, large vast country, natural resources and at half the size of Thailand’s population should logically be doubly more successful. But it is not!
So rather than continuing on this path of trial and error, why not follow and apply a successful example of solving the housing shortage?
Well, It’s much easier said than done in the context of Algeria;
To start with one needs to acknowledge that one has failed, not easy.
From there assess what is working and what is not, and then do the required surgeries to rid the system of the cancerous cells that are corrupting its function, again not easy.
Once that is done, be humble enough to accept to learn and be thought by others how to work from the outset to be successful…humm??
Assuming all that has gone well, continue being humble and teach others around you.
Be brave; fight corruption, never accept failure, be courageous to stand to all those who think they’ve done it and know better.
Engage all concerned parties in the process, it is not a government problem to solve, it’s everyone’s problem. Once they are involved in the process they will own it and become part of the solution.
Free the financial system to work with people to help them. Well managed micro finance has proved successful in many countries. Stop the handovers.
Then and only then, will Algeria have a chance at alleviating this major social ill.