Username CEO calls on County Governments to Adopt Unique Land and Housing Solutions

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Username Investment Limited CEO, Reuben Kimani
has advised various county leaders to embrace land and housing policies
which are specific to their unique problems. The CEO was speaking during
The Hamptons-Nakuru Phase II open day, where investors were shown the
location of their new property.

“*While it is true that there are some land issues which have to be solved
at the national level, the Ministry of Lands has already started addressing
them. The National Lands Registry went digital this month, and overall
service delivery is expected to improve. However, counties now need to
prioritise the policies which will solve their unique land and housing
challenges. Nakuru County, for instance, has already identified that water
is a big challenge in the implementation of its land and housing agenda in
areas like Lake View, Kivumbini, Kaptembwa, Flamingo and Kwa Rhoda.” *

Reuben was referring to the housing crisis which has existed in Nakuru Town
for a while now, forcing low-income earners into informal settlements. In
addition to the slums, there are an estimated 3,000 street children who
roam around the CBD. He stated that with the recent elevation of Nakuru
Town into city status, the pressure on its existing infrastructure would
only be expected to rise.

*“County Governments now have to be proactive in solving current and
imminent land and housing crises* *in their backyards. Land and housing
crises are not unique to Kenya; even developed countries have groped with
homelessness. For instance, Finland has a Housing First policy which has
helped it end homelessness almost completely. This is a practical solution
which just needs a little goodwill from the County Government to
implement.”*

This was in reference to a FEANTSA Report which indicated that Finland is
the only country in the European Union which has brought homelessness to
less than 7,000 people, nationally in the past ten years.

“*While we may not have the economic muscle to pull off massive social
housing projects whether at the National level or at the County level, it
is possible to borrow and implement ideas that could work. The County could
also consider solutions such as establishing a Livret A type of account for
its residents, and use the funds to upgrade the informal settlements and
build social housing units.”*

Livret A is a French savings account which is open to the public, which
pools money that the housing ministry can use for social housing projects.
Loan repayment periods are up to 50 years. The laws have been made to
restrict borrowers to only people who want to invest in social housing.

*“Of course these are ambitious ideas, whose implementation would depend on
political will and zero tolerance to corruption. There have been cases
where social projects fail to help the intended beneficiaries because of
high rent, as has been witnessed in the Kibera Slum Upgrade. County
Governments need to adopt technologies such as low cost building materials
and technology. Most importantly, there needs to be an understanding that
these projects are not for profit.”*

The Hamptons-Nakuru Phase II is Username’s newest and the second project
that the vibrant real estate company has started in Nakuru County. The aim
of the open day is to give clients an opportunity to view the land before
making purchases.

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