After studying the market for the most part of this year, this time is a good opportunity for stakeholders to come together and share their thoughts, practices, and concerns regarding the housing situation among the urban poor so that ultimately, we can make decent and affordable housing a reality. Although we have seen from some organizations that this is already being done, we want to give the target consumers more options and informed choices to make their investment worthwhile and also uplift their conditions as they move to formal settlements.
For affordable housing to become a reality, different agencies must work together. It involves the government units, housing agencies, service providers, businessmen, developers, architects, engineers, construction suppliers, financing institutions, non-government organizations, and community organizations. Each one has a part to play to make affordable housing a reality.
Before anything else, it is important to come up with a realistic definition of affordable housing. Check the average family monthly income and see how they can manage to pay the amortization or be encouraged to buy a house without compromising the needs of their family. Aside from this, it is important to define the issues and challenges that the housing sector faces and what they entail to each sector – public or private alike. Issues such as laws and policies, architectural design, pricing of construction materials, financing among others need to be discussed. There are also cross-cutting issues that need to be considered such as disaster risk reduction and management, age and gender sensitivity, environmental concerns, and holistic community development. Public-private partnerships will be more fruitful if each stakeholder is part of the whole process – from definition and planning up to implementation, monitoring and evaluation. It is expected that engagement of different stakeholders will prove to be fertile ground for the progress of housing and urban development in our society. Sharing of best practices from local and international organizations will be helpful. This is how we can make affordable housing a reality.