RUSTENBURG - The Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) has undertaken a pilot project to construct about 700 houses worth N$25 million countrywide this year.

The pilot housing project is aimed at addressing land shortages for low-income earners.

Coordinator of the Namibia Housing Action Group (NHAG) Heinrich Amushila made the announcement during a site visit at Oshakati on Wednesday, where approximately 300 houses were expected to be constructed.

"Low to medium-income households do not have access to security of tenure and as a result the formation of informal settlements is increasing rapidly in Namibia. At the moment, we have about 216 000 shacks in 282 informal settlements and backyards, which make up about 40% of the Namibian population," Amushila told The Namibian. 

The SDFN is a grassroots' movement made up of 851 savings groups, spread across more than 26 880 households. It has saved more than N$31,3 million and built 5 300 houses nationwide since inception.

In the Oshana region, the federation has constructed 90 houses at Ondangwa, while another 12 houses are under construction. The council has further serviced 59 plots with water and sewer reticulation.

The federation has also built 37 houses at Ongwediva and 266 at Oshakati, while 122 houses are currently under construction.

According to Amushila, the federation was faced with challenges that included 89% of the Namibian population not qualifying for housing loans, and not having access to commercial housing. 

As many as 19 000 households forming part of the SDFN do not have access to security of tenure and not all local authorities provide serviced land, a serious challenge to sustain community land development and incremental housing initiatives.

African News Agency