Housing crisis to worsen Climate change, increasing population
(Nation (Pakistan) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Experts have predicted that housing crisis will worsen in coming years due to climate change and increasing population. This will add in the rapid urbanization process which would draw more people to urban areas to compete for jobs, public services and shelter. Experts opined that these factors create challenges for decision-makers in Sindh to find solutions for people lacking decent and affordable housing.
Sharing views with The Nation, Mahjabeen Khan of Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE), who work for equitable sharing of resources and land rights for the poor section of society in the province, said that inequitable distribution of resources is one of the reasons for squeezed housing for majority for the population.
She called it management of land, a finite resource which needs to be managed properly, with the interest of the general public in mind. She said that land use planning highlights the importance of sustainable development, as land is considered as a finite resource. “Its importance is due to our booming population and decreasing natural resources,” she added.
Meanwhile, Abdul Waheed Jamali of SEARCH, who works on environment, housing and agrarian issues in the province, said that his organisation has initiated a campaign for awareness about the benefits and outcomes of providing housing to underprivileged families in Sindh. “Housing is not just a roof, it breaks the poverty cycle”, he said. Quoting a Thai community leader, Sanong Roeysungnoen, the young activist stated that when you are poor, you cannot think of the future because you face eviction adding that once you have secure shelter, you can start thinking about your welfare and that of your community.
He said that our province, Sindh, faces a chronic short fall of houses. Official figures relating to population and housing indicate acute housing shortages in the province. The last National Housing Policy made by the Ministry of Housing (2001), the government admits, “millions are caught in the struggle to have a roof over their head in Pakistan”, he noted.
Major reasons for this state of affairs are lack of resources, inadequate planning, and wrong land development policies that favour elite at the cost of poorer sections of the society.
Quoting the official date about housing census conducted in 2011, Jamali said that the population of the province increased from 30,439,893 in 1998 to 55,245,497 in 2011, showing an 81.5% increase while the number of households went up from 4,997,134 to 9,191,907, an increase of 83.9%, the data revealed. The multi-dimensional nature of poverty housing requires government, businesses and civil society working in unison to explore creative ideas, processes, products and services to improve the choices for those seeking decent and affordable housing.
Housing is a critical foundation to break the cycle of poverty. Families living in safe and decent homes see improvements in health and well-being, he concluded.
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