Housing: The Need

When I was young,  growing in a country struggling with shortage of housing, I watched  various attempts by the government trying to solve the problem but always failing, and even after 50 years of trying, they are still failing! The impacts of this lack of a basic shelter was having on the fabric of the society is appalling.


Yesterday I received an invitation to a conference titled “ housing the poor”,  I looked to see who were the speakers and the experts heading the talks, hoping for some new enlighted visionaries with a new formula to solve this ever increasing problem. And as usual it was the same old wine in the same old bottles repeating the same old questions and not finding any answers to them.


Why do we have a housing shortage? Why the increase in the number of Urban poor?  The answers to these questions are obvious, what is not so obvious is finding ways to minimise the problem, to alleviate the crisis.

How it is that some countries have succeeded in  housing most of their citizens and other are struggling to even meet the minimum demand?


From my experience living in various countries, I don’t believe it is necessarily and only a matter of money. Government policies, regulatory framework, Financial institutions and their financing models as well as people entrepreneurial capabilities,  are all intricate parts of making or breaking the housing provision business.


We are all aware of the increasing number of urban population because people are following jobs and jobs are in cities. Will this trend change? I don’t believe so. It will keep increasing and with it the demand for housing.


I lived in Thailand for many years. It is by no means a rich country, it does not have natural resources and don’t rely on oil and gas for its income. It has worked its ways from a developing country to a newly industrialized country with a strong economy.  I watch people from the driver, to the secretary to newly graduate and going all the way up, everyone seem to have a house of some sort, there are no homeless on the streets and there is even an oversupply of housing units on the market at reasonable prices.


Why is Algeria who is a much richer country, with huge natural resources and reserves, much smaller population, failing to provide adequate housing solutions for the many families who are struggling for basic shelter?


In my next few posts I will try and put some background to these 2 scenarios to see if there is a lesson here to learn.


One Reply to “Housing: The Need”