In the last post on this platform I promised to conclude this topical issues on our housing problems and without wasting much of your time I would love to quickly dive into what is important to be known in order for us to recognize the enormity of the issue we have at hand and if time permits we may discuss some of the unintended consequences of the course of actions that will be suggested in real this post.
I crave your indulgence to start by saying the need to give power to the people is not only by coming out to vote in order to elect their leaders but rather it is for the people to know that they are part of or contributing to the formation of something they have a say in and perhaps some level of control and management in the administration of what affect them and their life directly.
More often than not, this is how things are get done in the civilized countries of the world today with the support of implementation specialist, most governments have been able to implement accurately and correctly most of their plans for their respective people especially when it comes to provision of affordable housing projects and programs.
In Canada for example besides having National Housing Community Investment Fund, the country has what is known as the Federal Community Housing Initiative and the Community Housing Initiative and Research Center which serve as a resource that help both the people and government understand the dynamics of housing needs of the people.
These Community Housing Initiative and Research Center coupled with other grassroot organizations do not only help manage and maintain the community based housing but also ensure its the sustainability of the housing policy and strategy and of course help keep housing affordable with massive housing investment support from the government.
This provision help protect the interest of the middle and low income earners and also takes affordable housing development programs and plans to the grassroots and the communities.
If I must be frank with you, our housing policy and strategy has no such provisions, the National Housing Fund we have at the moment offering its contributors mortgage loan of #15m at 6% interest rate is like dropping a pin in an ocean and I want to believe someone this explicates why many are not aware of the availability of this housing fund opportunity.
Ironically if the people are aware I doubt the possibility of having access to the housing fund because of the burdensome process and requirements to be met before the actual loan could be approved and made available to them.
Please don’t see this as a snide remark because it will be impudent of me to say our government does not know what to do but it is really difficult to fathom the fact that the government has not taken the bull by the horn in addressing this housing enigma is consistently denying our communities access to essential or basic social amenities such as affordable housing health care, quality education, primary health care facilities and employment opportunities.
The people, the middle and low class most especially the artisans have been forced to see life as one damned after another and they work themselves out from nothing to the state of extreme poverty ignorantly thinking that life is God’s novel hoping and praying to God to rewrite their story.
The people forgot that the problem is not that God has forgotten them but that some people in the helm of affair or the government deliberately, let me say that they have decided not to do what is expected of them and they deride the people as if they are not worthy to benefit from the provisions and dividend of democracy and of government plans and programs.
Many times as we have seen in recent past or read in newspaper that government massively invested in housing but many of those housing investment can not solve any of our social and economic problems, they are mere investment that hit the deck big time, the investment is like investing in gold.
Investment in gold stored somewhere that can not produce anything is like a wasteful investment compare with having or investing in fertile land worth the value of the stored gold that will keep producing on a daily basis unlike gold which only beautify or should I say prettify our existence.
The National Housing Fund presently is not meeting its primary goals and objectives because as I type this article I have not come across or seen anyone who has benefited from this program and the main reason for this is that the funding scheme is too far from the people, the grassroots and the communities.
Let me firmly state that it is high time we caught up with the world if we truly desire to achieve the goal of making homelessness history in this country most especially in this part of the world, Africa.
Today what we have in the developed nations of the world is that the government is heavily pump priming the construction industry to create livable communities that is conducive enough for the people and their families to succeed, where their children can have access to good and quality education, health facilities, employment opportunities etc
All of this put together goes a long way to reduce the negative impact of not having a place to call home have in the people’s health, welfare, wellbeing as well as the economy of the country in general.
Only if we can conscientiously align making available affordable housing with the important goals of helping the people achieve or meet their physiological needs, to simply put it, that is placing food on their table, providing housing to shelter them ad their family, health care facility, education for their children, security for safety of lives and property that will bring peace and harmony in communities and our society.
Invariably this can only be achieved by standardizing and improving upon the housing policy and strategy as well as focusing the policy on the people who are in dire need of shelter and housing to perform at their full potential to support the economy as rightly stated in the previous posts on this topic.
If we have our housing policy made in such a way that it allows communities provide housing measures and preventing strategies that meet their pressing needs, it will further encourage the people to do more together because they know they have a voice and a say in what is happening around them and it will also ensure communities take part in decision making of what directly affect their life.
Apparently, it is obvious that we have never thought of housing programs in this manner before in this country, that is understanding that taking provisions of housing to the communities and grassroot could actually do so much more for us than we think in terms of strengthen the people, those that represent the nucleus of the economy that could help the nation as it relates to nation building.
Little did we know that most of our national issues or more than half if am not laying it on thick can be resolved if we have a policy and strategy that will ensure provision of affordable housing with all necessary social amenities that is safe and in close propinquity to transit, health facilities and other services to support and shelter families, victims of domestic violence, wounded military personnel, retired senior citizens, survivor of family violence, people who are physically and mentally challenged, windows, women, children etc.
According to the Canadian prime minister, Justine Trudeau he said we must stop perceiving provision of affordable housing to the people as a problem but rather as a tool to address significant challenges such as poor health, unemployment etc.
Let me pontificate here that if we sincerely and truly desire to put an end to housing problems, joblessness and crimes in our society and communities, this is how we must think and start seeing the possibilities, opportunities and solutions in the provision of affordable housing for the people and not the problems.
However this is a solution that involves and requires the moral and financial support of patriotic Nigerians through tax, freewill and goodwill of everybody from the individuals, families, groups, private and public organizations, local, state and federal government must be committed and make a decision to put their weight behind the policy.
All must support a housing policy that is designed with the primary goal and objective of putting an end to homelessness, poor health, reduce unemployment that will result in a better, happier and healthy families and communities.
It is worthy of note that success stories has many fathers, with this policy in place government will earn the trust and loyalty of the people most especially if the needy can have access to shelter and transitional housing as well as affordable rentals.
Let me reiterate that if government institute and heavily or massively invest in both Federal and Local Community Initiative as we have in Canada coupled with the Community Investment Firm and Resource Center for solving both housing and business development and expansion needs of the people.
I must state that with the help of the Resources Center and experts support we shall be nearer to putting an end to homelessness because by then government would have firmly placed its feet on the right path to successfully resolving the confusing and embarrassing housing enigma.
These provisions in the housing policy will help make mortgage loan facility accessible to qualified people if not everyone who desire to have a home of his or her own or perhaps to pursue a career in whatever field or business activity but whom are held back by lack of funds to actualize their dreams and life purpose.
The resource center will make available readily made housing and business development plans and resource materials that will ensure the success of their business and the access to support from the experts even at the grassroot or community level.
In addition to this, government can sponsor or cost push with groups, well to do Nigerians, private and public organizations new innovative research on housing that will not only shape the future of housing policy and strategy but also build communities that are full of life and positive energy.
Communities full with life and positive energy where people would love to be, live and work, communities that give hope to those in despair, protect them and promise of a brighter not only for them but also their children and the unborn generation.
But we keep doing the same thing all the time developing homes that are not accessible to those who can help fuel the economy on a daily basis most especially the middle class. Most of the housing development projects the government embarked on could only be accessed by the elites, the rich and wealthy, the class of people spend much if not most of their time abroad, who don’t even pay tax.
The government fritters away tax payers money in what I can call nostrums or cockeyed housing projects that has no singular input to the economy or give any support of any kind to the middle class or the society at large.
I surmise the government is unwilling or has no desire to reconsider its housing policy or perhaps we have some elements in government, only the coteries who usually use their powerful and influential political clout to protect their vested interest in the housing policy, those who are directly responsible for this strongly influenced error in the Nigeria housing policy and strategy implementation.
Patently am convinced these unwanted elements in government are the root cause of our housing enigma and if we must extricate ourselves from this problem we must start to think on our feet and start reconsidering, changing some aspect of our housing program and amend the housing policy as required or else we have got another think coming because the issues will go from bad to worse if nothing is done about it.
We must stop building castles in the air and as we all know Rome was not built in a day, conscientious steps toward implementation of a well designed and structured housing policy and strategy, that will take care of and address all of these needs if strictly focused and directed to the people who are most in need of shelter and homes.
Hopefully and expectedly this post will herald a new housing policy and strategy implementation that is sustainable for the government.
They say ingratitude is a sacred call for misfortune and if we must open our minds and our world to the surprise of the spirit then we must learn the art of gratitude at every opportunity we have and on that note I thank everyone that has read or reading this post for their time and may the good Lord continue to strengthen you and your family.
I would love to drop the curtain here today but its a pity I was unable to touch the unintended consequences of some of these course of actions as promised due to time and unfortunately I would end this topic here so that we can move to a new topic next time out.
Best of Luck Beautiful Minds
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