Government keen to tackle urban housing shortages

The government is keen to address the housing needs of urban dwellers by funding various affordable housing unit projects across the country.

The provision of affordable housing is being compounded by rapid population growth and continued rural urban migration.

Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elungata says the state is alive to the fact that urgent need for housing in urban areas is outpacing the funding being offered.

Elungata says the government is investing heavily in the rollout of decent low cost housing units to meet the enormous demand for land and housing in major towns.

“There has been huge investment in the housing sector by the government but it’s obviously not enough and that is why the state is bringing onboard the private developers to supplement its efforts,” he said.

The Regional commissioner spoke in Mombasa when he toured the Sh.6 billion Buxton affordable housing project accompanied by Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, Buxton project developer Suleiman Shahbal and Mombasa County Chief Officer for Lands, Planning and Housing Dr. June Mwajuma.

Elungata who is also the chairman of the Coast Regional Development Implementation Coordination Committee (RDICC) said they are satisfied with the progress of the 1,900 housing units in Buxton estate.

The project will have 600 one-bedroom units, 700 two-bedroom units and 600 three-bedroom units.

Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata briefing the media after inspecting Buxton Housing Project in Mombasa

He said the Buxton project will go a long way in providing more space and opportunities for Kenyans to own quality and affordable houses in line with the government’s Big Four Agenda of universal healthcare, affordable housing, food security and manufacturing.

“The Sh. 6 billion Buxton project fits well into the government’s plan in affordable housing which is a key pillar in the big four agenda” said Elungata.

Elungata revealed that the Jubilee government has since coming to power in 2013 expended Sh. 1.4 trillion on many infrastructure projects spread across the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta and Tana River.

Oguna said similar big housing projects are taking place in Nairobi, Kisumu and other big towns to deliver on the promise of affordable homes to Kenyans of modest income.

“Already 1,370 low-cost housing units have been completed at Pangani in Nairobi and it’s a scenario we expect to be replicated in all major towns and ease housing deficits” said Oguna.

Oguna said the pace of building affordable housing units to address accommodation crisis in major towns has picked up saying the situation would lead to more Kenyans of modest income owning houses.

“The government is keen on solving the housing crisis through the Kenya Affordable Housing Programme which we hope would also see the reduction of informal settlements in urban areas” he said.

Shahbal says the Buxton project whose construction has begun in earnest is expected to replace 545 old dilapidated units on the 14-acre parcel of land within Mombasa Island adding that 1,253 houses of the planned 1,900 have already been purchased off-plan

“This project will create 3,000 job opportunities for local youth and already 50 youth who are receiving specialized training at the National Industrial Training Authority in Mombasa would be absorbed into the project” said Shahbal.

Shahbal said they are accelerating construction works and he is happy that finally the Buxton housing project is being embraced by the people of Mombasa.

“This provides will not only provide affordable houses to people of low income but also improve the county economy through employment and other commercial activities,” he added.

Dr. Mwajuma said other estates in the coastal city targeted for rebuilding include Changamwe, Likoni (Flats and Customs), Mzizima, Miritini Greenfields, Nyerere, Tom Mboya, Tudor and Khadija.

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