Wajir County residents have raised concerns over the high cost of affordable housing units. Their recommendation is to have the housing units, especially in hardship areas, lowered for the locals to afford.
Additionally, they have recommended that the house designs be based on the climatic conditions of the region. The recommendations adopted will see areas with harsh weather conditions and extreme heat, such as Garissa and Wajir, among others, have special designs that fit local preferences.
The public participation in Wajir marks the seventh engagement with the public in an exercise aimed at collecting views and memoranda on the Affordable Housing Bill of 2023. The House team, comprising the Committee on Housing, Urban Development, and Public Works, which is sitting jointly with the Committee on Finance and National Planning, is led by Hon. Johana Ng’eno.
Wajir County Governor H.E. Ahmed Abdullahi asked residents of Wajir to embrace the affordable housing project to address the housing shortage in the county.
While supporting the bill, the residents pleaded with the government to prioritize them, especially in the construction of markets for the local small traders. The harsh climatic conditions in the area were termed a problematic issue for traders, who have to endure extreme heat under the scorching sun as they conduct their businesses.
Dr. Adan Sheikh Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims, said that the council is in support of the housing project, as this will ensure the homeless and the less fortunate in society get a chance to own a decent home.
Upgrading the infrastructure within the area was also pointed out as a concern by the residents. They called for the roads to be tarmacked and for others to be upgraded to allow access to these houses, as the town is occasionally hit by floods during the rainy season.
The Committee also heard that the area is not connected to the national power grid. Residents insisted that such crucial services be availed of before commencing the housing projects.
In their part, construction workers welcomed the projects, saying it was the only way to engage many youths who are jobless across the country. They noted that such projects would open up job opportunities for millions of unemployed Kenyans and allow them to earn some income.
People with disabilities present during the meeting raised their concerns about the design of the proposed housing projects, asking the designers to factor in their seamless access.
Wrapping up the session, Hon. Ng’eno thanked members of the public for attending the planned public participation forums, noting that their input would be useful in enriching the legislative proposal.
“It is worth noting that this Committee appreciates your commitment to attend the public hearings to present your views on the bill,” he told the residents.
The Committee later conducted a site visit to the recently launched affordable housing project within Wajir town. Construction at the site is still at the foundation level.