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Media Watch: 215,874 people have applied for Jubilee’s Housing Project but what is it?

A housing block in Nairobi COURTESY (Nation Media)

Affordable housing is something that is hard to crack in this country. This is because of the high levels at which it is to buy land and construct a house or get a bank mortgage in the country. People result in renting or leasing a house at a largely high rate but still considering building a house in the country is expensive then they consider this option.

Jubilee government in its beginning of its term decided to make this one of its Big 4 Agenda by promising to build 500,000 housing units. The ambitious project coming against failed government housing projects like Kibera Housing Project in 2008. This project did not end up getting the traction it due to the expense attached to it leading to people attached the housing leaving and renting them in the process.

What is the Affordable Housing Project?

The affordable housing project as I had previously tried to explain is a housing project that is largely built on a premise to deliver 500,000 units by the end of 2022. The project now being dubbed Boma Yangu Nyumba Yangu and is expected to settle at least one of Kenya’s biggest problems in the country housing.

The project is largely scattered in phases but in case you want to get into the project here is how to do it:

  • Go to Boma Yangu Nyumba Yangu’s website and sign up and register; You must be 18 years and above to register, have a National Identity Card and a citizen
  • Fill in the forms provided and this automatically makes you a statutory contributor which means you will be giving a Ksh.2500. For voluntary contributors 1.5% of their salary will be deducted from their salaries and will not be taxed at the end of the withdrawal. For spouses who may want to indulge in this project they will contribute in the Joint contributors program and the figure is not disclosed.
  • Allocation is done through the first come first service according to the website. Though the Housing PS told Citizen TV that it will be through a lottery system to allocate them.

According to the site so far 215,874 people have registered. This is at 29th April, 2019.

The first phase of the project was to be carried out beginning of October 2018 in Park Road with 1640 units to be constructed there. Other areas include Makongeni (20,000units), Shauri Moyo(5300 units), Starehe (3500) Units and Mavoko (5500 units).

The key principles of this project include Open spaces, smart technology use and security. In addition to this they are to build, sports facilities, gathering places and play grounds in the process.

The controversies of this project

The controversies of this project are many but let’s start with the basic that has been in the media for a long time now and that is the 1.5% being placed on salaried members. This is seen to be unfair to people who are already paying rent, servicing a mortgage or building a house on their own. This also seems to be against a court order issued to stop this levy from taking place.

Another issue is the miscommunication. As I had pointed out earlier the allocation of the houses is a largely miscommunicated with the site saying that it is going to be allocated through a first come first serve basis. However the Housing PS has come out to say that it will be done through a lottery system.

The period of the project is also a large issue considering the government might need to construct close to 388 units in a day to come up with 500,000 units. This makes the project over ambitious. Most housing experts are viewing it as a white elephant and one that will not take place that easily. No budgetary documents have been released to prove how much one unit will cost.

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