In reality, the lack of safe, quality, sustainable and affordable housing is costing Kenya in several dramatic ways.
Counties that fail to step up with affordable housing solutions drive out residents, lose potential workers, and discourage growth in their local economies.
While those who already have safe and stable housing may not feel the true cost of poverty, the effects are real and can seriously detriment our communities.
High housing prices can slow down a local economy, leaving jobs unfilled and less spending power in a community.
But, when affordable housing is readily available, more opportunities become available for people at all income levels.
More money is available for spending in a community, and long-term change can begin to take root. Let’s take a look at some of the economic benefits of affordable housing.
Out of 47.6 million Kenyans, 4,660,027 Kenyans live in rental homes.
A huge chunk of these renters spend more than half of their monthly income on rent payments.
That means millions of people are one small unexpected expense away from losing their housing.
The sacrifices people were already making in medicine, childcare, groceries, and education in order to make rent have only intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evictions spark a cycle of instability for families. At least 20,095 Kenyans are homeless, the 2019 census shows.
This has a ripple effect in their communities and harms a community’s social and economic wellbeing.
That’s why housing stability is at the heart of affordable housing. It works to prevent evictions no matter the economic climate, and the social and economic return is well worth the investment.
Affordable housing creates more job opportunities
Another huge economic impact of affordable housing is the number of jobs it can create, both during the construction phases and ultimately through long-term societal growth.
Let’s consider the economic impact of simply building a new housing structure; the real estate company will need to hire manufacturing and construction companies in order to build.
Then, the housing centers will need staffing for maintenance, operations, and leasing jobs to keep grounds well-managed and clean for the residents it needs to attract and retain.
Though some of these jobs are more immediate than others, the long-term benefits of affordable housing are profound and can lead to meaningful change in society.
More money spent in localities
For most people, rent is the biggest and most important expense each month.
When income loss threatens the ability to meet rent payments, the likelihood of spending money on anything other than the most basic needs harms the local economy.
That being said, the most obvious economic benefit of affordable housing is the increase in voluntary spending.
When residents of affordable housing communities can make their rent payments,
they’re able to spend more on local purchases and even go beyond the bare necessities to buy healthy food,
have better access to healthcare, and spend more at their nearby businesses.
Healthier population means a healthier economy
A person’s housing is a huge social determinant of their health.
Among other factors like income and education, housing is a component that drastically influences a person’s physical and mental well-being.
Poverty severely limits people’s options, which is why poverty is linked to a vast range of health problems, both acute and chronic in nature.
Most obvious is the quality of the housing itself. People in low-income live in housing that’s poorly constructed or maintained, has water contamination, and environmental risks that are far less likely for more affluent populations.
These environmental threats lead to chronic health issues for children, families, and seniors, which come at an enormous and preventable cost to both the residents and their greater communities.
Better opportunities for investing in the future
Another long-term economic benefit of affordable housing is the chance to decrease childhood poverty.
Providing children with a better and more equitable path forward is one of these long-term ways to build economic growth and healthier societies.
Equipping kids with tools for social mobility isn’t just a moral argument, it’s also proven to create economic growth for communities.
A stable and affordable home is the foundation for everything else.
It gives children the chance to establish healthy habits and focus on their goals and education.
Generationally, this has massive impacts on educational achievement, economic output, and creating opportunities for residents to give back to their communities.
Improved government infrastructure
With more residents able to pay property taxes, a local government is able to provide more for its citizens.
Increased revenue may mean improved infrastructure and social amenities such as roads, hospitals, schools, water systems, electricity supply, and other elements of healthy cities that keep its residents healthy and safe.
In conclusion, we do see the role investors like you have to play in this.
We do believe in empowering our clients so as for them to build wealth as well as playing a huge role in ensuring we as a country achieve the sustainable development goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) which dictates that by 2030, we ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrading slums.