Housing the Poor

Inadequate or substandard housing is a highly visible dimension of vulnerability. This is especially true for low income self-employed families for whom a home is not only the locus of domestic and parental responsibilities, but also of economic activities, playing the role of workshops, warehouses and stores.

Despite an overall increase in incomes in cities, formal housing is expensive and inaccessible to a large share of the population, and the number of people living in deteriorated housing conditions in India is very high. Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation adopts a multi pronged approach towards enabling access to decent housing for the poor which includes:

Micro-Lending for Self Constructed Housing

Often houses constructed in India, seven are constructed by the people themselves, two by the government and one by the private sector. The majority of urban poor prefer to build their homes incrementally with the help of local masons/contractors. Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation supports self- constructed, incremental housing by providing financial and technical support to ensure that the houses are structurally safe with efficient layouts and access to adequate light, ventilation and basic infrastructure.


Building Stake for Slum Residents in Redevelopment Projects

Several city governments in India are exploring a public-private -partnership (PPP) approach to slum redevelopment that involves participation of private developers in the provision of housing. The biggest challenge in the process is establishing a trust relationship between the developer and slum community, especially as it involves demolition and temporary eviction. Further, the provision of transit housing has to be conscientiously designed. The focus of Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation interventions in the PPP redevelopment projects is to create an environment of better accountability and build a legal stake for the slum dwellers, especially women in the entire process to ensure that a) their interests are not marginalized and they have equal property rights, b) they are involved in decision making regarding design & governance and c) women are actively involved in community management as members of residents welfare associations.

Linking Poor Families to Affordable Housing Options

Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation supports poor families in buying units in government led subsidized housing schemes as well as private affordable housing projects by communicating information about new schemes, helping them in the application process and mobilizing the required earnest money. Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation also assists families that are selected for allotment process in accessing housing finance and securing possessions.

Advocating for Housing Reforms

Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation advocates with government at all levels to institute pro- poor housing policies and programs. The main focus is on streamlining procedures and ensuring better transparency and accountability in government schemes. Dr M Chandrasekhar International Foundation has been invited to serve on various state and national level committees and represent the voices and concerns of the poor on these policy dialogues.

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