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To promote transparency, accountability and dignified living in India’s housing sector.
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There are source link four main issues the affordable housing sector faces today.
According to recent studies, for the middle and high-income segments, nearly seven lakh housing units remain unsold. On the other hand, data from 2013 indicates that India faces a shortfall of more than 18 million housing units for people that fall in the low-income group. According to current estimates, India annually produces 1 lakh affordable low-cost housing units accessible to these customers which includes government housing projects as well. The number of units produced currently does not address the numbers corresponding with annual migration of workers to urban areas. The most pressing issue, then, is supply.
As can be seen, there is a demand for housing and the number of buyers grow every year. This raises the question, why they are not being treated as potential customers for low-cost housing. There is currently no single platform or method that allows us to create an aggregation of these customers and present them and their needs to developers and mortgage providers. While there is demand, concrete action is lacking due to lack of aggregation of this demand. Thus, the second major issue affecting housing is data aggregation and analysis.
Housing in India does not come with guarantees or warranties. It may be the only product that has none. Most of the affordable housing customers are informally employed and have very limited knowledge on the housing units that are available to them or the housing stock that they can access. This, in effect, means, they might be getting housing units that are not at par with their expectations, leading to an intensification of the housing problem. Further, there are few quality assurance mechanisms that can be resorted to in the affordable housing segment. Thus, quality poses’s the third problem.
Affordable housing requires the collaboration of multiple stakeholders – for-profit developers, housing finance institutions and mortgage providers, building material manufacturers, architects and planners, civil society organizations, government and public policy makers and, the target beneficiaries to name a few. Often these stakeholders have different perspectives to affordable housing. For instance, developers may not have direct and easy access to the needs and requirements of the target beneficiaries – most of whom operate within the informal economy. On the other hand, Citizen Sector Organizations (CSO) and NGOs may have an understanding of the community and their needs and requirements. In order to address the issues of affordable housing, especially at scale, all of these stakeholders need to pool their competencies and work collaboratively, which is not the case as of now. This lack of collaboration is the fourth problem.
Individual organisations have made efforts to address one or more of these problems in the past. Unfortunately, most of the efforts have seen success either on a single-project basis or in a particular geographical area. As the demand is much higher, we need a more holistic approach that will catalyse millions of affordable homes a year. Providing solutions to this on a single platform that will connect all of these organisations is the premise of the Indian Housing Federation.
Stemming from Ashoka’s earlier Housing for All program (2009-2013), which was focused on a hybrid model of bringing for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations together to solve some of the aforementioned problems, IHF aims to create a strong pool of information and collaboration between all stakeholders in the space, primarily to begin addressing these problems at scale.
The problems we’ve listed are a culmination of many complex issues. After experimenting, ideating and debating, we’ve identified a multi-step approach that we believe can help create a holistic solution to the affordable housing issue.