Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga addressed the pressing issue of inadequate sanitation facilities and exorbitant charges faced by Kenyans in informal settlements during the Kenya Affordable Housing Conference 2023 held in Mombasa County.

According to Hinga, the 1,141 slums in the country witness residents paying 172 per cent more for water and over 45 per cent more for electricity than their counterparts in other areas.

Speaking at the conference, he emphasized that housing is a fundamental social right, attributing the current housing deficit to the government's withdrawal from direct involvement in housing initiatives, leaving the responsibility to the private sector.

“We can disagree on how to solve the housing problem, but we must first agree there is a problem. We have a very unequal country. A society that has low income against high land value. This pushes people to slums. If the government doesn’t intervene, informal settlements will continue to mushroom,” warned Housing PS Charles Hinga.

Hinga shed light on the challenges faced by many Kenyans, stating, “Majority of people in Nairobi walk to work because they can’t afford transport, just like the majority of Kenyans live in rentals because they can’t afford to own homes.”

He highlighted the role of the Housing levy in enabling the government to construct houses at scale, generate employment opportunities for youth and women, and support the manufacturing sector through collaboration with Jua Kali groups.

To address the affordability crisis, the government has implemented several interventions, including zero-rating the cost of land and infrastructure, providing multiple tax exemptions, and reducing financing costs.

As of now, 584 housing units have been completed, and 9,477 units from the 2018-2022 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) cycle are in progress.

The current administration has initiated the construction of 39,879 units in the current cycle, with an additional 34,355 units ready for groundbreaking.

These measures aim to alleviate the housing crisis and improve living conditions for the citizens of Kenya.