Poverty hinders potential housing options

Poverty prevents people from accessing potential housing options, and make others hard to sustain. There are significant linkages between housing and poverty. These have impact over people’s lives and livelihood. As such, these linkages deserve greater attention so that they can be properly addressed.

“People’s experience of poverty, access to secure tenure and housing circumstances are intertwined. Housing forms an important part of people’s material living conditions and contributes to their life chances.

IMG_1853The significance of the links between secure land tenure, housing, and poverty therefore deserves greater recognition and attention. Greater access to land for housing is required to overcome poverty” said the National Director of the Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh at the Round Table Discussion on “Housing Land Tenure and Services to Low Income People” hosted by Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh.  Leaders from Government and academia, NGOs, INGOs and media are invited to share their thoughts on the issues. Prof. Dr. Nurul Islam Nazem presented the keynote address on the subject. The discussion took place at the Azimur Rahman Conference Hall, Daily Star Bhaban, Farmgate, Dhaka on October 29th 2014. Planner Prof. Dr. Golam Rahman, President, Bangladesh Institute of Planners and Mostafa Quaium Khan, National Policy Advisor, Bangladesh Urban Forum was present as special guests.

Prof. Dr. Nazem’s study identified about 44 thousand poor settlements in 27 cities and towns. These identified settlements contained 1.12 million poor households. As the total households in all 27 cities were 2.03 million in the year 2010, the proportion of poor households in these cities was estimated at 55 percent.  Of 44 thousand poor settlements 27.10 percent were found to be extremely poor, 25.43 percent very poor, 25.04 percent moderately poor and the remaining 22.43 percent were marginally poor. If the marginally poor households are excluded, the poverty level stands at 46.4 percent. It is to be mentioned here that all the poor people do not live in slum settlements in cities.

Out of five major areas concern (land and housing, environmental services, infrastructure, Economic and social condition) Housing, economy and environmental services were found to be in critical conditions.  Economic opportunity is limited and the management of environment services was not efficient.

Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh, a branch of HFH International, was established in 1999 in the city of Mymensingh in the central north region of the country. It currently operates in 10 locations across the country, aiming to break the cycle of poverty. more than 6500 low-income Bangladeshi families have partnered with Habitat to improve their housing, water and sanitation, and living conditions. This represents around 300,000 people who have also received training in microfinance, safe water and sanitation, appropriate construction technology, and disaster response and mitigation.