The importance of affordable housing concept is yet to strike a root in our society. Generally, affluent segment of the society does not exhibit a sense of concern for the ‘have-nots’ and resultant consequences on the society and the economy. The absence of a roof over one’s head leads to not only privacy security but also self-respect and dignity. This also fosters an increase in criminal deeds. Society comprises various segments like cops, educators, fire personnel, and paramedical staff like nurses etc. lack of affordable housing near their place of work compels them to commute a lot thereby loss in productive time and increase in the cost of labour. These factors obviously adversely affect the economy. Let us now briefly look into some of the concerns facing the affordable housing concept.
Compliance with the Environmental laws
One of the major challenges centers around environmental regulations which have to be obtained from the nodal authorities. Even though lots of people are without homes one cannot construct dwelling units in the hilly areas. Similarly, a hillock cannot be leveled for construction of houses by the realtors without obtaining permission from the authorities. The procedures to obtain such clearances are cumbersome and time-consuming. It also increases the cost of land and construction besides making the developer and buyer to face difficulties.
Earmarking Parking Area
Generally, it is the norm for four storied building to leave the entire ground floor for parking vehicles. However, for lower income group this may not be required as most of them are unlikely to own four wheelers. If this provision is relaxed the builders can reduce parking space add on houses which will be profitable for the developers and also cater to the needs of LIG.
As a matter of policy, government should make it obligatory for the builders to create patches for the LIG in their townships. The realtors should be made aware of the importance of the support staff and menial workers for the successful execution of their projects. Therefore, their interest should be protected.
Enhancement in supply and demand
To promote and offer incentives, the LIG people should be provided interest free home loans or at best with nominal interest rates by the loan givers and micro finance institutions. This would also ease repayments of the loan amount.
The reasonable subsidy may be given in respect of construction materials to the developers who construct projects for the LIG. In case of resale, there should be provision for a tax rebate. This would be a great motivator for the LIG group to maintain margins and go in for affordable housing.
In order to forestall any delay in construction of affordable houses, Govt should allow private equity funding and mutual funds in real estate sectors. The authority may evolve new measure like REITs.
Another challenge for affordable housing is about the location of the projects. As far as possible, these houses should be near to the public transport system like railway station, bus stand. Efforts should be made to develop affordable houses in proximity to industrial areas to facilitate the worker’s easy access to their sites.
Despite the above challenges, the demand for affordable housing is going up day by day; this is also linked with the dwindling joint families and decrease in the number of occupants per house. In the greater interest of the society, the concept of affordable housing needs to be given serious consideration and the corporate sectors should deem it as one of their important social responsibilities.