The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador recently approved a new landmark housing legislation, described as one of the most important of its kind in the country's history.
The new law enables the government to legalize and provide public services and access to housing loans to some 300,000 families or almost 20% of the population. It was hailed by Josué Gastelbondo, Project Coordinator in El Salvador of an initiative of the Spanish Fund in the UN Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG-F).
"This has been the most important law to provide secure housing to the poor in the history of El Salvador," said Mr. Gastelbondo. The Millennium Fund programme is supported by the Government of Spain and implemented by three United Nations agencies – the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Development Organization (UNDP), and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT.
The Programme provided technical support to Vice Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador in the approval process of the new law and also facilitated meetings between the stakeholders to discuss and debate.
Additionally, members of Legislative Assembly visited experiences in Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil to learn how other countries implement regulations. The intervention was able to accelerate the revision of the draft law in the course of ten months and approved all the articles.
The legislation aims to regulate the possession of, marketing and transfer of any land title in the former illegal and excluded human settlements. At the same time, it establishes a transitional regulation period to legalize and authorize lands incorporated and sold illegally up to the date of the enactment of the law.
Once enacted by the President and published in the Official Gazette, the law will regulate the marked of land for human settlements. It will speed up the process of housing improvements and construction. The legality will allow access to credit. Therefore authorities are presenting in the next few days a series of measures and programmes that will reduce the housing deficit.