Erongo housing backlog addressed in the face of rapid urbanisation
By Adolf Kaure.
The Governor of Erongo Region, Neville André says that local authorities in the region are addressing the housing backlog despite urbanisation when he spoke at the ALAN (Association of Local Authorities in Namibia) urban land seminar held on Monday in Walvis Bay.
The event was attended by various housing industry stakeholders like mayors, councillors and chairpersons of local authorities.
According to André, the rapid urbanisation in Erongo is a result of the region being the economic hub of Namibia and greener pastures been pursued there. “People are in search of job opportunities and improved livelihoods.”
“These migrations impact heavily on the limited resources local authorities have to provide adequate housing, which results in the establishment of informal settlements,” he said.
Despite the housing backlog, the Governor commended some local authorities in the region, who are actively addressing these housing backlogs.
“In Swakopmund, we have various models to accommodate the low to ultra-low housing segments, such as the 40-40 housing concept for the low income groups, the build together programme for the low and ultra – low groups,” said André.
The governor further said that other towns in the region like Karibib and Walvis Bay are also using models to reduce the costs of servicing the land, which ultimately affects the cost of the house.
In 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the largest fires was witnessed in the Erongo region at Twaloloka, Walvis Bay. This resulted in over 150 families losing their belongings as well as the untimely death of a toddler.
“The Namibian government soon declared the site a national emergency and initiated the decongestion of informal settlements and backyard shacks. The government then constructed 122 houses for the fire victims,” he said.
Partnerships between the private sector and civil society for ultra-lowcost housing provision have also aided in addressing the backlog. These partnerships include the Build a Brick Programme of Standard Bank Namibia and the Shack-Dwellers Federation of Namibia.