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The environment of one’s residence has probably the most significant impact on their satisfaction, behavior, and health since people spend most of their time at their homes. Decent housing has been acknowledged as a basic human need but the contemporary situation in housing contains glaring deficiencies around the globe. A large portion of the world population is currently living under appalling housing conditions with the alarming global housing shortage escalating each day. This situation is even worse among the urban dwellers especially for those in the low-income stratum as housing supply lags far behind the current demand. The urban poor has also become recipients of urban environment mismanagement as they receive some of the lowest standard essential services. A closer look at the metropolitans reveals that residential crisis is even worse especially in developing countries which has led to clandestine land ownership, overcrowding, and high rents. Effects of poor housing cause a ripple of other problems that include health and poor sanitation (Suglia, Duarte, & Sandel, 2011), a notable increase in crime among others. Improving housing conditions will then result in a healthier population, an increase in satisfaction index among residents and a decrease in crime.
The issue of housing has been a topic of discussion for several decades now and remains a major concern to date. Lack of adequate shelter has been closely associated with a myriad of social problems such as crime, poor sanitation, and health concerns. As such, providing adequate housing has some desirable effects on a number of these susceptibilities. Research has also shown that areas with inadequate housing have a significantly higher crime prevalence compared to middle-class and upper-class neighborhoods. The prevailing problem has also been closely linked to the perpetuation of child poverty and a notable number of children under protective services (Bartlett, 1998). Owing to these issues and the continued mismatch between house demand and supply, the issue of inadequate housing is one that warrants swift response to cater for the ever-increasing population. The Department of housing and urban development, tasked with issues pertaining to housing, can implement a number of remedies that include community involvement, inter-sectoral collaboration and seeking for an increase in budgetary allocation to close the housing gap.
For any community-based program to receive positive reception by members of that community, its involvement in planning such projects and coming up with solutions is mandatory. Community-led housing projects encompass a number of provisions that are well addressed using approached such as community land trusts, housing cooperatives, cohousing and community self-build. Since inadequate housing affects people in that neighborhood, then community-based housing projects ensure that communities and people in them take an active role in coming up with housing solutions that are tailored to their specific needs. When well implemented, community-led housing creates lasting, affordable and sustainable homes (Choguill, 2007). It also builds confident and resilient local communities and increasing their capacity for dealing with other community problems. Ensuring that the housing solutions are sustainable calls for acknowledging the crucial role that the community plays in identifying their housing problems and coming up with solutions (Choguill, 2007).
In addition, community-led housing has been linked to other desirable outcomes such as involvement of the poor, often left out in many decision-making processes that directly touch on their community. Again, community involvement in addressing housing inequality has also been shown to play an important role in helping regenerate the low-income communities. The benefits are particularly realized when major community stakeholders are engaged, that is, the key partners and the local community. Active involvement of the affectected community and community participation in their service delivery is crucial to the achievement of any community-based project as it advances people’s aspirations, needs and interests (Begum, n.d.). Failing to consult the community will, ultimately, ignore the multiplicity of the community perspective and the predominant themes that then leads to failure in addressing the true needs of the community. In this light, community involvement ensures that the housing solutions are based on the interests, capacities and felt needs of the community.
Inter-sectoral collaboration and partnership
The department of housing and urban development comes up with and implements many of the housing policies and projects that address housing issues to include inadequate housing. However, other organizations and entities have an interest in the housing department. Addressing the prevailing inadequate shelter will require that the housing department works together with these agencies for a more effective remedy. Partnership and collaboration across different sectors have seen the emergence of a wide array of community-led and alternative housing initiatives. Some of these include self-building, ecological housing, resident’s cooperatives, and self-organized housing (Crisp et al., 2016). In collaborative initiatives, there is keen interest in ensuring that there is unparalleled input from the community members that span from conception to management of the projects. More players in the housing sector translate to more housing projects, competitive housing, a general reduction of prices as demand meets supply and an overall better housing.
Again, since such collaborations would be multidimensional, then a lasting collaborative relationship is developed between the external stakeholders and the residents. This will also increase to the literature and research in inadequate housinga solutions supported with research. Increased database translates to more viable approaches in dealing with the housing inadequacy while offering an opportunity for different players to exchange ideas for better outcomes. These players include private land developers, real estate agencies, public health sector, department of urban planning and development among others. Stronger synergies among these sectors will lead to a strengthening of the housing sector that would consecutively address the issue of inadequate housing.
Increase budgeting and rental subsidy
The most effective and immediate remedy to inadequate housing would be building more, cost friendly houses. The federal and national government plays a major role in shaping the housing landscape, being the largest player. As such, increasing the housing budget to increase the number of housing units available to especially low-income population would provide immediate relief. The budgetary increment could also be used as incentives to players in the housing sector to encourage housing development projects.
Current research shows a strong correlation between low-income households and inadequate housing mainly because of the high rent burden (Obeng-Odoom & Amedzro, 2011). The federal government, thus, has a role in developing policies that aim at subsidizing housing rent. The rental subsidy would also ensure that people have access to adequate housing through the making of house rent affordable (Quigley, 2011). Well-implemented subsidies have the potential to create a ripple effect that would increase competition for good housing as more people can afford the rent.
However, the housing sector is one that will continue to face challenges especially because of the uninhibited population growth of the current society. Again, conversion from adequate to inadequate housing is possible even without a change of residence as families will at times face a substantial increase in housing needs as the family expands (Hinson, n.d.). As such, some of the proposed solutions such as increasing budgetary allocation to the department of housing may eventually prove futile, as it is a cycle that would keep asking for more. Some school of thought, and with sensible reasons, advocate for those projects that have regeneration capabilities and are sustainable. This would include projects that generate income while addressing the housing problem, and the income generated is used for future housing needs to include renovations and building of more units.
Inadequate housing has been among the hotly debated topics of the modern day society as its magnitude increases by the day. People, especially in the low-income stratum, continue to experience inadequate housing despite the department of housing trying to address the issue. This calls for a new approach and perspective in addressing inadequate housing that includes community engagement, inter-sectoral collaboration and partnership, and increasing budgetary allocation and rental subsidy. However, coming up with a lasting solution to inadequate housing will require more than increasing budgetary allocation; it needs coming up with community-based solutions that have the potential to generate funds that can be invested back in the housing sector to address the ever-increasing housing needs. This paper has highlighted such projects and their potential benefits as well as the role of the department of housing and urban development in encouraging housing developments.
- Bartlett, S. (1998). Does inadequate housing perpetuate children’s poverty? Childhood, 5(4), 403–420.
- Begum, H. (n.d.). IMPROVING ACCESS TO HOUSING FOR LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES IN DHAKA: FROM RHETORIC TO REALITY IN COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION, 356.
- Choguill, C. L. (2007). The search for policies to support sustainable housing. Habitat International, 31(1), 143–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2006.12.001
- Crisp, R., McCarthy, L., Parr, S., Pearson, S., & Berry, N. (2016). Community-led approaches to reducing poverty in neighbourhoods: A review of evidence and practice. Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research.
- Hinson, D. (n.d.). Trends in Housing Problems and Federal Housing Assistance, 22.
- Obeng-Odoom, F., & Amedzro, L. (2011). Inadequate housing in Ghana. Urbani Izziv, 22(1).
- Quigley, J. M. (2011). Rental Housing Assistance. Cityscape, 13(2), 147–158.
- Suglia, S. F., Duarte, C. S., & Sandel, M. T. (2011). Housing Quality, Housing Instability, and Maternal Mental Health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 88(6), 1105–1116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-011-9587-0
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