HUDCC vows to address public housing backlog, shorten process of getting decent shelter

Providing housing for the poor and homeless can be a challenging task, but the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) said that it will continue to be committed in addressing housing backlogs and providing resettlement to informal settler families (ISFs).

Providing housing for the poor and homeless can be a challenging task, but the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) said that it will continue to be committed in addressing housing backlogs and providing resettlement to informal settler families (ISFs).

In a forum titled “Housing and Challenges to Housing Service Delivery under the Duterte Administration” organized by the University of the Philippines for Integrative and Development Studies in partnership with International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), HUDCC Project Evaluation Officer III Armida Melendres iterated HUDCC’s thrust to design a comprehensive measure to address problem of ISFs and provide decent and safe homes to the poor.

In her presentation, Melendres reported that the projected housing need by the end of 2016 is 5.56 million. This will cover the 1.4 million ISFs, approximately 40 percent of which resides in Metro Manila.

Melendres also reported that that growth of slums is estimated at 3.4 percent per year. It was pointed out that majority of these informal settlements in Metro Manila are located in places identified as high-risk zones during typhoons and floods, and most of ISFs also live in fire hazard zones.

According to the National Housing Authority, from 2011 to 2016, the number of houses the government needs to provide increased to 5.7 million from the 1.4 million backlog recorded in 2011.

Melendres also noted that the country’s housing sector still faces several issues that hampers government’s delivery of decent and affordable housing among Filipinos. One of which is the absence of an adequate and coherent institutional framework that will enable a holistic management of the housing and urban development sector. Melendres said that the HUDCC’s recommendation to address this concern is the enactment of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) or an executive order that will strengthen HUDCC capacity to oversee and guide urbanization process.

Providing housing for the poor and homeless can be a challenging task, but the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) said that it will continue to be committed in addressing housing backlogs and providing resettlement to informal settler families (ISFs).
HUDCC Project Evaluation Officer III Armida Melendres. Photo courtesy of UP-CIDS

HUDCC eyes to be given the responsibility of reviewing Key Shelter Agencies (KSA) mandates in the context of developing a housing and urban development sector in which a real value chain among agencies is present.

Melendres also raised the need to establish a “nationwide integrated land and ISF information system” and to create a Local Housing record at the local government level.
Citing a 2012 study by the private sector, which states that about 68 permits, clearances, and licenses to be processed within an 18-month period are required to develop housing, Melendres stressed the importance of streamlining government services. She suggested the establishment of “one-stop-shops” that should harmonize national agencies and processing of requirements.  This will address the problematic proclamation of government lands for housing due to long and tedious process, land suitability issues and adverse claims.  

Other recommendations by the HUDCC include the availability of an array of subsidies (grants to lower down payment, cost of titling, and installation of infrastructure on site); establishment and implementation of an income-based subsidy scheme; and the creation of an office that will provide community development assistance (similar to Thailand’s Community Organization Development Institute).

Melendres also reported that in the past 6 years, only 1.135 percent of the annual national budget is allotted for budget or about 23B per year. With this observed “limited appropriations” for the housing sector, HUDCC suggested that funding be supplemented with private sector’s investment – attracting them through tax incentives and ease in processing of permits and clearances.

According to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adequate housing is essential to one’s sense of dignity, safety, inclusion and ability to contribute to the fabric of our neighborhoods and societies. It also states that without appropriate housing it is often not possible for one to get and keep employment, to recover from illnesses or other disabilities, to integrate into the community, or to escape physical or emotional violence.

Photo credit: Anton Zelenov in the immediate vicinity of the image

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