Housing is one of the most basic human needs. However, many low income developing countries are troubled by the high rate of urbanization. Between 2000 and 2030, the urban areas of the developing countries will absorb 95 percent of world’s population growth. Excessive levels of urbanization in relation to the economic growth have resulted in high levels of urban poverty and rapid expansion of unplanned urban settlements and slums, which are characterized by a lack of basic infrastructure and services, overcrowding and substandard housing conditions. Slums have wide adverse impacts on people and the society.
One important task to meet the human settlements challenges is to devise mechanisms and systems by which an adequate and steady flow of long-term financial resources from both the public and private sectors could be mobilized and channeled into human settlements development and particularly in low income housing development and slum upgrading. The Habitat Agenda recognized that housing finance systems do not always respond adequately to the different needs of large segments of the population, particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups living in poverty and low income people. It calls UN-HABITAT to assist member states to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and accessibility of the existing housing finance systems and to create and devise innovative housing finance mechanisms and instruments and to promote equal and affordable access to housing finance for all people. The General Assembly Resolution A/56/206 reconfirmed the commitments to strengthen the functions of UN-HABITAT in housing finance and mobilization of domestic resources for housing and infrastructure.
The main activities of the Housing Finance Systems are:
- Review and analysis of housing finance systems and mechanisms;
- Conducting studies on important housing finance issues such as market infrastructure – legal and regulatory frameworks, property rights, land rights and registration, law enforcement; relationship of housing finance systems to the wide national economy and financial sector;
- Government intervention and subsidies/incentives in housing finance systems;
- Strategies and instruments for financial resources mobilization for housing and infrastructure;
- Project Finance
- Mortgage finance and credit enhancements
- Community-based finance institutions and instruments;
- Links between formal housing finance and informal housing finance;
- Provide advisory and technical assistance in capacity building, financial instruments, policy development and reforms.
Xing Quan Zhang, Ph.D.
Chief, Urban Economy and Social Development Branch
P. O. Box 30030, Gigiri
Nairobi 00100, KENYA
Phone: (+254) 20 762 4659
Fax: (+254) 20 762 4736