Housing Micro-Finance - Leveraging Economic Growth
Housing microfinance pilot programs with African and international partners are assisting thousands of low-income families who cannot afford to buy complete houses to acquire land, install basic services and improve or build houses step by step. These programs are also creating jobs, generating income and stimulating economic growth.
Program support, technical assistance and new partnerships are helping build the capacity needed to provide housing microfinance and housing support services at each step in the housing process.
In September 2012, the National Cooperative Housing Union of Kenya had an active portfolio of over 530 housing loans worth $4.19 million – a 292 percent increase over two years. These loans are anchored by $3.1 million in member savings. Loans and guarantees provided by Rooftops Canada, CIDA and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada led to significant investments by Homeless International, a UK-based organization.
In Tanzania, WAT Human Settlements Trust, led by its new CEO Judith Sando, has leapt ahead by securing capital and land, and is growing its capacity to provide housing support services. A total of 821 land and incremental housing loans were issued between April 2011 and September 2012.
Member co-ops of the Zimbabwe National Association of Housing Cooperatives have built 236 core houses and are on track to construct 40 houses per month. Youth have been trained and are earning incomes from brick-making and construction.
In South Africa, the Kuyasa Fund continues to be a regional leader. It has provided over 31,000 loans to help low-income households improve their housing. Rooftops Canada has helped Kuyasa grow and streamline its operations.
A strategic stakeholder workshop and seven country consultations resulted in the African Housing Microfinance Initiative to promote the concept and build capacity in the region. It is hosted by Rooftops Canada’s partner, the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa, in Johannesburg. Over the next three years, Rooftops Canada will deepen and extend the three pilot programs and establish new pro-poor housing finance and development partnerships in the region.
Special thanks are due to the Rooftops Canada core team of housing microfinance and housing support services technical advisors Jamie Ritchie, Eliza Moore and Patricia Sibley, and to Carl Evers and the many young professionals who have worked with the housing microfinance program partners.