Challenges of delivering low-income housing : a case study of the Build Together Programme of Namibia.
A common strategy in dealing with housing shortages is the provision of loans to low-income groups. Tried in many countries for a very long time, this approach has produced a common phenomenon - poor servicing of loans. Thus, an empirical study was undertaken in Namibia, using the country's Build Together Programme as a case study. The aim of the study was to understand how the livelihood circumstances of the beneficiaries might be contributing to their inability to meet their loan obligations. The BTP's beneficiaries and the housing officers at both local and national level constituted the study's respondents. Housing officers responded to questions in an interview schedule while the beneficiaries were engaged using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. All beneficiaries were purposefully identified on account of outstanding arrears on their loans. Reviewing of literature covered the challenge of urban housing and strategies used to address it at both global and national level, documentary analysis on government documents to provide information on establishment of BTP and lastly, the direct observation of the concerned sites. The study focused on BTP in Windhoek (WHK) particularly in two settlements, Katutura (a formal settlement) and Goreangab (an informal settlement). Poor servicing of loans was shown to be closely associated with the socio-economic circumstances of the beneficiaries. This suggests the importance to recognise that housing is not just about the physical structure called a house, but there are other more subtle but equally important considerations that need to be met. Issues such as reliance on wage labour and large household sizes combined in ways that placed limitations on their ability to service the loans. An important conclusion from the study is that understanding beneficiary' constraints and their livelihood strategies might be a very important step in future housing policy actions in Namibia. The study also highlighted concerns about the programme such as inadequate communication. Some recommendations are provided, prominent among them being the need to strengthen the training component so as to assist the beneficiaries with some of the issues, The study consists of two components: A and B. Component A comprises the study background, the problem statement, aim, objectives, literature review and methodology. Component B is presented as a research paper for publication purposes and complies with the requirements of the selected journal (Appendix six). For the purposes of the paper, relevant information from component A on the purpose of the study and methodology are incorporated in Component B.
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