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The London Plan and Achieving London’s Housing Targets

When it comes to housing the Draft London Plan, published in December 2017, has caused major concern for some of the key stakeholders. This concern was recently brought to the fore by the Home Builders Federation in their publication Greater London Economic Footprint of Homebuilding where they have urged the mayor to change the draft. In particular, they call for more detail on how the GLA will facilitate what they agree are the much-needed homes that will house London’s growing population.

London’s population is due to expand to 10.8 million by 2041 from the current 8.4 million. Therefore, just to meet housing demand an additional 66,000 homes per annum will need to be built, compared with the current level of circa 42,000.

On its own this target is challenging but when other requirements of the London Plan are factored in such as the need for 50% affordable homes it becomes obvious that both central and local government will have to pro-actively intervene in a much bigger way than ever before if this aspiration is to be achieved.

Central and local government will have to pro-actively intervene in a much bigger way than ever before if housing targets are to be achieved

The current level of affordable housing being achieved is 24% on conventional housing supply. This means that the current viability model for affordable housing in London is supported by a combination of public grant and private sector margin cross subsidy from 76% of the housing supply (current average grant levels are £70,000/unit for social rented and £30,000/unit for intermediate). There obviously needs to be a structural change in the way in which viability is to be achieved if the 50% is to be realised. The cross-subsidy element from the private sector units will reduce and will need to be balanced by an increase in public grant plus a downward adjustment on land prices.

Also, there needs to be an understanding of the further challenges that increasing the proportion of affordable housing has on the housebuilder business model. Typically, a housebuilder will look to achieve a 15-25% margin return on their development value. Affordable housing in London generally provides no or negative return for the housebuilder (the open market cross subsidises), therefore the higher the weighting the more difficult it becomes for the housebuilder to achieve its returns, on which its funding is quite often reliant.

In addition, development appraisals have always been assessed on a current day cost, current day value basis. The sensible assumption being that the potential increases in costs over the development period are “hedged” by the potential increases in value. The value of the affordable housing is often set at the outset of a contract and therefore has no opportunity to increase in order to cover any increases in cost. When the affordable housing is down at between 20-35% of the development, housebuilders have been historically willing to take a view on this and rely on the cross-subsidy element to cover any shortfall. As the percentage of affordable increases this becomes a lot more difficult and has led to housebuilders having to change their traditional approach to appraising a development by building an element of cost inflation into the model (which can only be a forecast) or trying to negotiate an increasing time-related value to the affordable. This is being perceived as creating more risk in an appraisal, which affects viability, which in turn effects deliverability.

Assuming that the subsidy element can be made up through a reducing land value is optimistic as this will require more certainty in planning policy and time for the re-adjustment to embed.

The impact of the targets are therefore negative on the traditional housebuilding model and therefore underpins my original point that if the London Plan is to be achieved there needs to be more detail on how the GLA will underpin the structural changes required in the short, medium and long terms.

If the London Plan is to be achieved there needs to be more detail on how the GLA will underpin the structural changes required in the short, medium and long terms

If the total number of homes are to be achieved there needs to be a more forensic analysis of the market conditions, we should be able to determine the total amount of subsidy required to deliver the required amount of affordable homes and then dependent on market conditions be a lot more intelligent in how this subsidy is provided whether via private or public subsidy.

In the longer term there needs to be more certainty around planning policy, it is only with this certainty that the potential longer-term adjustment in land value will be achieved.

The importance of housing to London is much more that just more homes: the HBF estimates that last year housing contributed more than £5bn to the local economy. On a pure pro-rata basis if the numbers were to increase to the 66,000 needed then the contribution increases to £8bn.

The London Plan needs to provide a lot more detail on the “how” than it currently does and in so doing identify where the land will be coming from, how the GLA will ensure the right and appropriate level of subsidy to ensure viability and how it will proactively intervene to ensure achievement.

Source: housingtoday

Canada Needs a Rebirth of Co-Op Housing

The cost of housing is gearing up to be a top issue in the coming federal election.

Surveys show that several cities in Canada rank amongst the world’s least affordable housing markets. For many, home ownership is completely out of reach. Meanwhile, unaffordability in the rental market is making it harder for people to feel secure and save for the future.

Canadians are looking for a place to call home that is affordable, attainable and sustainable. Often, we consider only two options: renting or buying. But there is another choice. Housing co-ops offer people a chance to get ahead, have control and live affordably.

Today, over a quarter of a million Canadians call a housing co-op their home. Housing co-ops are owned and controlled by the people who live there, and the rents are set by the members to cover the costs of maintaining the co-op today and for future generations.

This means that housing co-operatives stay affordable. Living in a co-op in Canada costs less than either renting or owning, on average. Furthermore, co-op costs are more stable, with smaller year-over-year increases.

Most importantly, co-ops provide a stable place for families. Members can’t be evicted just because a landlord wants to renovate, and a family can’t be forced to move so that a landlord can increase the rents. Co-op members can continue to live there as long as they follow its rules or bylaws and pay their rent on time.

Co-ops bring people together from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds and they are built on mutual respect and support. A young professional family that is saving up for a house can be neighbours with a low-income senior who otherwise would have been isolated.

Demand for the new co-op on York Street, in downtown Toronto, was so great that members were chosen by lottery. For 12 units, over 1,200 applications were received.

To address this unmet demand, we need a rebirth of co-op housing in this country.

Last month, the federal government announced the extension of the Federal Community Housing Initiative, to continue rental subsidies for 55,000 households in co-ops and community housing until 2028. This is very good news, as this investment will provide additional support to house vulnerable households for many years to come.

But there’s still more work to do. We know that 1.7 million Canadian households’ needs are not being served by today’s housing market, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Housing co-ops are ready to do their part. The majority of co-ops in Canada are very close to retiring their first mortgages, and many are now considering options for how to renew their communities and also develop more co-op homes to address unmet demand.

Co-ops can accelerate new development opportunities with supportive government policies and programs. What’s really needed is for every jurisdiction and every level of government to prioritize housing.

Governments need to look at leveraging surplus land for the public good. Long-term development grants and financing are needed to build a more affordable housing supply, including co-operatives. Income- and rental- assistance programs need to be made permanent and more generous. And we need to continue to advance the right to housing for all.

This will not be easy, and governments of all levels have a responsibility to come together to respond to the public demand for solutions.

We want more Canadians to understand what it means to live in a housing co-op, and why political parties of all stripes must take action to ensure more affordable housing in Canada. As Canadians head to the polls, we encourage everyone to remember there’s another choice: to buy, to rent and to co-op.

Source: theglobeandmail

Inter-State Journeys Now High Risk in Nigeria

…As kidnappers, killers lay siege to major roads …Murder of Fasoranti’s daughter, others mirrors nation’s hopeless situation …Country risks DR Congo, Colombian experience

The brutal murder Friday of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Reuben Fasoranti,national leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, by suspected Fulani herdsmen along the Ore-Sagamu Expressway at Kajola Village in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, has again strengthened a recent report that terrorists had established thousands of pockets of militia bases across Nigeria from where they ambush and unleash terror on innocent citizens.

A police spokesman in the state, Femi Joseph, who confirmed the attack was quoted as saying that the bandits ambushed the victims and that a man was also kidnapped in the process.

According to Joseph, “Young Shall Grow Motors Limited, a Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep with Registration Number LAGOS AAA 147 FM and a Toyota Camry were involved in the incident. The vehicles were ambushed by gunmen at Kajola on the Benin-Ore Expressway around 2pm.”

One of the recent videos going viral on the social media about some people who were shot at by suspected killers along Benin-Ore road showed private vehicles riddled with bullets. The bandits scampered into the bush because of repelling shots from some travelling escort who happened to be at the scene at that material point in time.

A woman, a tutor with one of the highbrow schools in Lagos, who was at the centre of it all, later narrated their near-death experience.

“It was last Monday, July 8, 2019. We (my husband, daughter and I) were returning from a burial in Anambra State. Shortly after Okada Junction, suddenly, we saw someone emerge from the bush, shooting pointedly at on-coming vehicles. What saved the day was a MOPOL, the escort, that goes with my husband.

He quickly alighted and responded fiercely. The armed man ran back into the bush. The bullets from his AK 47 had shattered windscreen of two vehicles and torn some parts of the vehicles. It was a narrow escape,” she said.

The woman, whose name is not mentioned here for security reasons, lamented: “I thank God for saving our lives, but no one knows how many other Nigerians that may have been kidnapped at that very point or would be abducted minutes, days or weeks at that very spot after our miraculous escape. From our experience, I think the security situation is even worse than it is being reported, because it is he who feels it that knows it. And people are going through that hellish experience every day. Majority of them are not being captured in the media. Nigeria is really under fire.”

The Nigerian security challenge seems to be worsening by the day. It also appears that efforts by the Federal Government to rein in the ugly situation may not have struck the right cord yet, despite series of security meetings at the highest level of government.

The ugly state of affairs is affecting the country in all fronts. Businesses are being affected as people no longer travel freely either to render services or supply goods. Inter-state transporters are complaining of low patronage as volume of passengers has drastically reduced.

It has also affected agric productivity as farmers have abandoned their farms. In all, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is being negatively impacted.

Although Nigeria is not in a full-blown war situation, informed analysts say the country is in a low-grade war, and this has reduced the quality of life as though it were DR Congo, where security has since taken flight.

Nigeria also appears to be sharing brotherhood with Colombia, whose level of insecurity is pronounced as a result of activities of drug barons that have made the vast parts of the country inaccessible.

A few weeks ago, the British Government had advised its citizens against travelling to about 21 states in Nigeria. The warning, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom, is as a result of the growing security concerns in the country.

The FCO noted that attacks by Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, raids by bandits in the North-West and militancy in the South-South, have worsened the security situation in the nation.

The states that made the infamous list were Borno State, Yobe State, Adamawa State, Gombe State, riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River States, within 20km of the border with Niger in Zamfara State.

The FCO advised against all but essential travel to Bauchi State, Zamfara State, Kano State, Kaduna State, Jigawa State, Katsina State, Kogi State, within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi States, non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia.

The insecurity in Nigeria has become so scary that people now dread major roads. There have been several accounts of survivors who were kidnapped, robbed or raped by bandits on that route.

As a result of the increasing menace of kidnappers along the Abuja-Kaduna road, for instance, many people have resorted to boarding train instead of going by road. Even at that, BDSUNDAY gathered that the trains now move under heavy security escort as the kidnappers have also resorted to attacking the passengers on train tracks.

The highways in Nigeria have become “high way to hell”, as no day passes without gory tales of abduction for ransom and rapes of innocent commuters.

Today, almost all the major roads in the country have been taken over by kidnappers and ritual killers, making inter-state commuting a high-risk venture.

Some years back, when a notorious gang under the leadership of Osisikankwu took over Abia State and made lives uncomfortable for indigenes, the then Goodluck Jonathan administration gave the bandits no breathing space until they were subdued.

Osisikankwu, around whom was weaved a myth of invincibility, succumbed to the superior power of security agents.

What has become very difficult to understand in the spate of killings and kidnappings across the country is the seeming inability of governments at all levels to stem the ugly tide.

Chidi Amuta, a publicist and former university don, in an interview with BDSUNDAY, said that it appeared the state has lost the capacity to guarantee security of lives and property.

“The capacity of the state to guaranteeing security of lives and property is also a function of the state of the economy. It is the duty of the state to buy guns, to maintain a police force, military and all which is superior to those of the ones challenging them. But a situation where non-state actors are now challenging the state, in the area where the state used to have monopoly; then there is problem,” Amuta said.

According to him, “In those days, if you hear that government is coming, you run away because government has uniform and has big guns. But today, uniforms and guns are no longer a monopoly. In fact, non-state actors- the militants and all the others- have bigger guns. Theirs is even more frightening. Armies and soldiers have a protocol for deployment of forces. Now, a militant or terrorist has no protocol, they have no rule of engagement; in fact, the bigger the gun a person wields, the more the person is a commander. And as a result of that, insecurity which breeds instability becomes the order of the day.”

The escalating incidence of kidnapping said to be perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen, BDSUNDAY gathered, was one of the reasons the Federal Government’s RUGA settlement policy was stoutly resisted across the country.

Martins Onovo, a former presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), in an interview with BDSUNDAY, said: “Look at Ruga; how simple can it be? I take the land of Christian, an animist farmer, and hand it over to terrorist Islamic Fulani herdsmen. How well can you define Islamisation? Now, when I hand over this land; the Fulani herdsmen and the terrorists settle there, it becomes a militia base for further attack.”

Cabinet; game-changer or business as usual?

Ask any of the ministers, they would tell you that they performed excellently. In fact, some would score themselves 80 percent. They would rather blame the system rather than themselves for whatever was their rating in the eyes of the Nigerian people.

While they engage in self-adulation, there is nothing much on ground to justify their occupation of the seats for over three years. Some ministries were so quiet that it appeared there were no activities or rather there were nothing to do there. Many of the ministers were not even heard let alone seen; their faces were only shown on camera during the weekly Federal Executive Council meetings.

But we hear that about 70 percent of those ministers are likely to return, and people are wondering, to do what? The President himself came out last week to confess that some of the ministers were forced on him by some interests in the party; if it is so, is it likely that he would tread that path again? Good a thing, he has promised to assemble a formidable team this time around. Nigeria is sick, needing urgent healing in all fronts.
Team

 

How N-Power beneficiaries abscond from duty, abuse opportunity in three states

Seated behind a wooden desk in the fairly large room that serves as the principal’s office, Alima Muthar spoke calmly into the phone.

”I am not aware of your redeployment from my school to another school, your desk officer is here with me,” she told the person at the other end, an N-Power beneficiary who is repeatedly absent from work.

“I would have to report you to him and confirm if truly you have been redeployed.”

The principal at Aliyu Mustapha Junior Secondary School in Yola, Adamawa State, Mrs Muthar regularly makes such phone calls to more than half of the 17 N-Power beneficiaries in her school to demand a reason for their absence from class.

She said she rarely sees more than seven of the N-Power Teach volunteers deployed to her school on any given school day.

Mrs Muthar also said she could not fathom why many beneficiaries posted to schools across the states abscond from their primary duties.

”I have to be frank with you sir, most of them (beneficiaries), do not come to school, maybe they are engaged in another job,” she said. ”Every working day, I resume to work, I do not see up to seven N-Teach volunteers a day.

”Whenever I call any of the beneficiaries on the phone, some say they are in Cameroon or not around. I don’t know why they dodge their responsibilities,” she said.

The principal suggested that the government should embark on strict measures in handling the issue.

The school head is one of the many principals who complained about the N-Power volunteers who are absconding from their Place of Primary Assignments (PPA), a PREMIUM TIMES fact-finding investigation has shown.

The investigation is in collaboration with Zeitgeist Aesthetics, a not-for-profit organisation on how the National Social Investment programme (NSIP) has fared in three selected states: Katsina, Kano, and Adamawa.

The assessment included interviews with officials, beneficiaries in various schools under the N-Teach and N-Agro sub-components.

A laudable initiative

The N-Power was introduced in 2016 as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), aimed at curbing the incessant increase of unemployment and poverty in the country.

The programme volunteers are paid N30,000 monthly as stipends and given tablet computers to aid further learning. It has five components, which are N-Teach, N-Tax, N-Health, N-Agro, and N-Build.

According to data from the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), as of August 2018, an estimated 500,000 graduates volunteer in N-Teach, N-Tax, N-Health, and N-Agro which are designed for graduates,

About 26,000 non-graduates in the N-Build, which consist of automobile, hospitality and technology categories are currently being trained in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The government in 2016 budgeted N500 billion for the SIP. However, as of May 16, only about N41 billion had been expended on the four programmes with the N-Power gulping N26 billion.

Out of the SIP components, the N-Teach subcomponent is the most popular, due to a large number of youth deployed to teach in public schools.

The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in 2017 criticised the programme ”for trying to kill quality education by deploying unqualified teachers to public schools”.

Complaints galore

Apart from Mrs Muthar, her counterpart from another N-power component in the state, Asabe Jefe, from Aliyu Mustapha Memorial Maternity clinic popularly known as Yola Maternity Centre, also shared the same views about the ‘laziness’ of the N-Health volunteers posted to her health centre.

The 56-year old female health worker described the N-Power volunteers as ”thieves.”

”I do not know that she (beneficiary) works here, the only one that comes is not even punctual. I do not even understand why they are here, and they still get paid for nothing,” she said in the Hausa language through an interpreter.

”What they are doing is no different from people who go around with guns and steal from people.”

Mrs Jefed, who is the principal community extension worker said she has two N-Health volunteers deployed at her clinic, a male and a female. She said, the female volunteer never comes to work.

”Although the other person comes, he is never punctual,” she added.

Asked what could be done regarding the truancy, she said: ”It is very sad because President (Muhammadu) Buhari designed this programme to reduce poverty and unemployment, and these young people have refused to come to work. I do not know; maybe they should stop paying them.”

Also, PREMIUM TIMES visited Mustafa Government Day (JSS) also in Yola: an afternoon day secondary school that begins academics at 12:30 p.m.

Usani Usman, the school’s vice principal, said they have 27 N-Power Teach volunteers deployed to the school.

”I was posted to this school not more than three months ago, many have been punctual to school, but the others stay some distance away,” Mr Usman said.

Similarly, at the primary school section, the Head Teacher, Samira Hummawa, told PREMIUM TIMES that the N-Power volunteers have been punctual, ”but some do not come to school regularly”.

‘’I can tell you our the N-power teachers have added more impact to this school and the society at large,” Mrs Hammawa said. ”Before they (N-Power teachers) came, we did not have enough teachers in this school, but now they have been very helpful most of the classes are no more empty.”

Silence in Kano; commendation in Katsina

In Kano, PREMIUM TIMES visited Danwere Primary School, in Sabon Gari. When asked about the FG’s N-Power volunteers in his school, the head teacher, who refused to give his name told PREMIUM TIMES: ”Those ‘useless’ people, I have not been seeing them for a while.”

He then declined to answer any more questions ”unless we got a letter from the Kano State Education Board.”

PREMIUM TIMES visited three more schools across the state. In all of them, the principals asked for letters from the state Education Board before they can speak.

In Katsina State, Mariam Salele, the principal of Lami Abba Community Girls Secondary Science School, in Kofar Sauri, a district in the state capital, said 10 N-Teach volunteers were deployed to her school, ”and all are punctual.”

 

She showered the N-Power programme with praises, thanking the federal government for introducing the programme. Mrs Salele said: ”They (beneficiaries) are punctual, and enter their classes.”

Mrs Salele told PREMIUM TIMES that in the past, the government did not provide the school with enough teachers, leaving them to go source for their teachers.

”Before, we just had four teachers from the government, now the programme has helped us with ten N-Power volunteers in this school which they have been very helpful,” she said.

Hurdles, successes

One of the many hurdles characterising the N-Power programme is the lack of proper supervision by the federal government.

Experts say the federal government could have adopted the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) strategy whereby corps member would have to get a clearance paper from their various Place of Primary Assignments, (PPA), signed by their principal officers.

They would also have to take their papers to various local governments for biometric clearance. There every corp member has to present evidence that they attended their Community Development Service (CDS) before their names and state numbers are forwarded to the accounting department for payment.

In the N-Power programme, there is no such mechanism placed to check the volunteers before payday.

Despite the various irregularities that characterise the scheme, it also has some level of success.

For example, most of the schools PREMIUM TIMES interviewed said before the N-Power, they had never had an inter-house sports activities.

Similarly, the N-Power programme is undoubtedly the most successful means of employment. It was designed majorly for the poor.

Checks by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that the N-Power officials at the state level lack the adequate manpower and resources to help supervise and check the irregularities marring the process.

For instance, all the officials who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES complained of inadequate vehicles that would assist them in supervising.

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) helps the government to provide a level of supervision for the project but has its own unique challenges.

Manu Garcia, the NOA Yola North supervisor, told PREMIUM TIMES that ”the agency is aware that some of the beneficiaries are going to work while some are not going to work”.

“We did mapping out of N-Power programmes, across the LGA areas, we have submitted the form to the N-Power office,” Mrs Garcha said.

”There was one N-Power Teach volunteer I called, telling her that the school principal reported that she has not been going to school, she responded that she thought it was a monthly N30,000 stipend empowerment programme,” Junadu Abubakar, the N-Programme desk officer in Adamawa state, explained to PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr Abubakar urged the federal government to create a special team within the N-Power office to help supervise the scheme.

”There are schools that are in remote areas that cannot be located easily to supervise,” he said. ”We are only limited to the metropolitan and use their private resources to move around.”

Meanwhile, the N-Power coordinator at Kano State Secondary Schools Management Board, Abdurra’of Madaki, told PREMIUM TIMES that his office lacked the resources like vehicles to move to rural areas to monitor the volunteers.

“The ones that are deployed in the rural areas are still fair, they are punctual, but those that their place of primary assignment is located at the Kano city are not punctual,” Mr Madaki said.

He also lamented that he once enrolled some beneficiaries to a vocational programme ”just to keep them abreast in the labour market; in case the programme comes to an end to prevent over-dependence, but many refused to attend.”

The coordinator said he went further to get the beneficiaries identity cards as a means of identifying themselves in case to weed out impostors and for their security. but the attempt was rebuffed.

Beneficiaries speak

Most of the beneficiaries who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said they want their engagements made permanent.

Maharazu Abdullah, a 30-year-old HND holder, told PREMIUM TIMES he joined the scheme because he was jobless.

Mr Abdullahi, a father two, who teaches about 40 pupils at the Civic Education at Lami Abba Community Girls Secondary Science School, in the state capital, said he has been able to develop and expand his fish pond business from his monthly stipends.

”After I graduated from school and completed my NYSC in 2010, I was jobless,” he said. ”I was just managing a fish pond at small scale, but since I joined in 2016, I have been able to expand my business. Now I am a distributor. The programme has helped both my family and other relations.”

He urged the federal government to emply them as permanent staff and give them computer tablets. ”Whenever we ask for our tablets, they tell us to wait”.

Aliyu Abubakar, a graduate of Physics from Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto State teaches Physical Health Education in Mr Abuduliah’s school.

He told PREMIUM TIMES that since he joined the N-Power programme he has been able to purchase three hectares of land for his cultivation of beans and groundnuts.

”Before I joined the programme, I used to teach in a private school here in Katsina. I did not earn much, but now things are better.”

Ishaq Bugaje, studied Islamic Education from Bayero University Kano State. His place of primary assignment is located at Jibya local government in Katsina.

Mr Bugaje told PREMIUM TIMES he joined the programme in 2016.

He said before he joined, he was a tailor. ”Since I joined the scheme I have learned more things about agriculture and modern farming, the programme has changed my life. I have been able to visit communities and impact the lives of farmers in rural areas.”

Simon Abiraqkwa, the N- Agro desk officer in Adamawa state, told PREMIUM TIMES the state recruited 2,636 beneficiaries in 21 LGAs from different academic backgrounds.

”We train the N-Power Agro volunteers on the timing of planting, weeding, fertiliser application and encourage zero tillage and discourage mechanised farming.”

Mr Abiraqkwa further said after the training, the volunteers would disseminate the knowledge that had been aggregated.

”They have also been trained on how to use cloud application that they would use to gather data on local farmers.

“The information would contain location, age, and the cash crop they sell, and it would later be used as a data bank for government to access the farmer in order to purchase goods for the Home Grown Feeding programme.”

Achoda Akuma, a beneficiary from Yola South, said the only time she ‘absconded’ from work was in August last year when the FG did not pay them stipends.

“It was the period when I newly resumed work and the FG did not pay for about two month,” she explained.

Ms Akuma, who teaches Mathematics at Bambam Primary School in Yola South further said, “After I started receiving my money, I have been going.

“Although I cannot say I go regularly every week but I go at least three times a week.”

Another beneficiary, Glory Bulama, from Mubi South said she does not go to school regularly because where her PPA is located is far from where she lives.

Ms Bulama, who teaches English language at Ayiwa Primary School at Ayiwa town, Mubi South LGA said she spends N700 daily on transportation.

She also said she suffered miscarriage which has made it difficult for her to go to work “in the past few months”.

Asked if she informed the official’s about her health, she said, “No I did not, I think it is personal for me.”

Authorities keep mum

Afolabi Imoukhuede, the former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Job Creation and Youth Employment, Office of the Vice President, the office directly in charge of the scheme, did not respond to calls and messages sent to his known telephone numbers.

Meanwhile, Tunde Ajileye, a finance expert and partner with SBM Intelligence, said there is need for more supervision by the authorities to ensure the programme’s success.

“The N-Power is essentially the NYSC without the structure plus checks and balances put in place to ensure people stay in their places of assignment found in the NYSC. In spite of those structures, people still abscond during NYSC, not to then talk of a poorly designed N-Power.

“Why has the N-Power, which was meant to be an intervention, been rolled over with beneficiaries continuing? Of course, because the work is ‘decoupled’ from value creation. They see it as free money” he said.

The coordinator, Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), Olanrewaju Suraju, also urged the federal government to strengthen its evaluation team who supervise the N-Power volunteers.

”What the N-Power are doing is a disservice to the nation,” Mr Suraju said. ”If such beneficiaries are getting paid but not discharging their expected responsibilities, it is a disservice to the nation.

”The N-Power should have monitoring/evaluation mechanism. I suspect that they do, they should remove such persons from the N-Power scheme and get serious people onboard,” he said.

Source: Premium Times Ng

Pensioners Left Waiting For More Than Two Years For Council Housing

Documents from the district council showed from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, just 15 pensioners moved into council housing, having waited 817 days on average for that accommodation to become available.

Council figures showed some pensioners on the Kāpiti Coast were waiting so long they were dying before being able to move into a suitable unit.

In the past three years, 50 pensioners withdrew from the waiting list.

But only one of those had found alternative accommodation; the other 49 either moved from the area or died.

A Kāpiti Coast District Council spokesperson said the waiting list reflected a growing need in the community, but the responsibility fell to central government to address it.

“The provision of social and affordable housing is a central government responsibility and this council continues to advocate on behalf of the Kāpiti Coast community for better housing outcomes and increased rental subsidies.

“Council and the Kāpiti Coast community look to central government to address the underlying issues of social and affordable housing in our district, and are committed to partnering for collaborative solutions.”

There are 118 council houses for pensioners on the Kāpiti Coast.

Source: tvnz.co.nz

These Are the Countries Most at Risk of Housing Bubbles

Canada and New Zealand are the most vulnerable economies to a correction in house prices, with Australia and the U.K. also drawing concern, according to new research from Bloomberg Economics.

 

Seeking to build a “housing bubble dashboard,” economist Niraj Shah studied ratios of house prices to rent and income as well as inflation-adjusted prices and household credit.

The results showed that Canada and New Zealand seem to be on the most unsustainable path, with the cost of housing compared with wages the highest in the world in both countries. Australia, Norway, Sweden and the U.K. also raise alarm bells, Shah said.

Policy makers may be acting already. Canada’s government has introduced a tax on foreign buyers, while overseas purchases have been banned in New Zealand. The next challenge will be whether prices keep rising as the Federal Reserve and other central banks get ready to cut interest rates.

“There’s a risk that a global round of monetary easing may fuel housing bubbles,” said Shah. “While central bankers are focused on avoiding a global economic downturn, looser monetary policy could sow the seeds of the next crisis.”

House prices have only just returned to the peak they reached prior to the last period of financial turmoil, according to an index consisting of 57 economies.

Source: bloomberg

China’s Diverging Housing Market— Massive Price Gap Between Cities Up To A Thousand Times

For average working professionals in Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong, buying a place for themselves would be a mission impossible. With skyrocketing housing price and relatively low incomes, it is destined that most working professionals will not have a chance to afford a place in the cities that they work hard in.

 

Yet in the other parts of the country, housing markets seem to be on the total opposite: With low demand and shrinking population, these houses are now on the list for 50% off discount, and some of them even start to worth less than $3,000 for a whole department.

Hegang, a city located in the Northeastern Heilongjiang province of the country, became one of the most prominent examples of the declining housing markets in China’s less developed regions. A 46 square meter apartment is only listed at 16,000 RMB, a value that is less than $3,000. Imagine that you can buy an apartment in urban areas with merely one-month salary, here you have it, in China’s shrinking smaller cities.

The devastating housing market in Hegang reminds people of the past disastrous history in Erdos, where real estate businesses’ over-expansions led the city into a ‘ghost-town’. With supplies overweigh the limited demands of houses in the city, Erdos’ housing market failed completely as a result of poor management and overestimation of the city’s consumption capacity.

The housing market in Hegang showed complete different pictures from those in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. It leaves people confused and baffled. The inequality and the differences in prices are too large to explain, and a 50 square-meter apartment in Beijing is simply just too different from that 50 square-meter apartment in smaller cities.

Several factors and reasons could potentially explain the declining housing prices in Hegang. The outflow of capitals and population are the main factors that drove down the housing prices. With fewer demands and fewer job opportunities, urban residents are leaving the town for better jobs with better pays.

Families that are moving away would not only be out of the buyers’ market, but will also be actively engaged in selling their old houses to cash out from a city that they would not go back to. With more and more people flooding into larger cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, or locally speaking, Harbin, houses in the county-size town are certainly becoming increasingly less attractive.

Yet different from the case of Erdos, in which the real estate businesses are becoming the essential party to blame, situations in Hegang is simply an ongoing trend that is gradually taking place in China. County-size cities are dying as larger cities are easing up its household registration requirements. With better infrastructure, education, and job opportunities in larger cities, smaller ones are losing out in this competition and are on their paths to diminish and eventually, fade out.

It is also a different process than urbanization, where excessive labour forces are mobilized to leave the rural areas for jobs in the city. The ongoing migration trend that is happening in China are between-cities: From smaller cities to larger ones, and from regional centers to the national centers. It is a form of chain migration, where everyone wants to make a step up to go to a city that is better than the one their past generations resided in.

This is becoming a trend of centralization, where young talents are moving towards economic centers and regional centers for better opportunities and potentially an opportunity to stay. The process of centralization provides two different scenarios in the housing markets on the two diverging ends: In smaller cities, where people emigrate out of, housing markets are starting to shrink and eventually vanish.

On the other end of the market, houses in metropolitan areas such as Beijing and Shanghai are never short of buyers. Even with strict purchasing restrictive policies and tough requirements to obtain a local household registration status, housing prices in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai will not likely to decline in the short run.

These cities, with limited areas and land, will eventually turn into a Hong Kong style housing market: A family of four may be forced to settle in a very small apartment, and the land size per capita will be decreasing drastically.

The increasing inequalities is leaving people’s life in very uncomfortable positions. While all good opportunities are in the economic centers, staying in the city and buying a place of their own is becoming a mission impossible, let alone the stringent requirements to become an actual Beijinger, a person with valid Beijing area household registration status. Yet on the other hand, it does not take long for people to realize that moving to a smaller city will significantly decrease one’s standard of living in a rapid pace.

In order to have an organic and sustainable economy, China needs to do a better job in balancing the developments in different regions. While the country is successful in building up world-class cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the local and central government now needs to invest to ensure that other regional centers are with the same capacity to become future potential economic hubs that can generate well-paid jobs and attractive opportunities

Source: pandaily

NIESV Unveils Logo to Mark 50th Anniversary

The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) have unveiled a new logo in commemoration of the institution’s 50th anniversary.

The unveiling which took place on Thursday at NICON Luxury Hotel Abuja was attended by members of the professional body from all parts of the country.

Speaking on the significance of the event, Estate Surveyor Roland Abonta, President Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers said the institution is unveiling their 50th anniversary logo for a whole year-long program that has just started. “The unveiling is part of the beginning of the celebration of our 50th anniversary which will last for one year,” he said.

On the contribution of the institution during its 50 years existence, Abonta said the body has recorded a lot of contributions.

He said, “For valuation, in the last 50 years of this nation, all private and public assets in this nation have been solely valued by professional estate surveyor and valuers. We have gotten involved in valuing the assets of NNPC, including the technical aspect, the plants and equipment of NNOC and the oil sector at large.

“We have also been involved in valuing buildings and other assets of federal and state governments. We have also been the ones managing the assets of the federation and individuals. We are the only known facility managers in Nigeria.

“In the area of housing our members have contributed immensely to bring to Nigerians the availability of houses and some of us have also contributed to developing houses in Nigeria. We have assisted government in policy formulation. For example, the national housing fund of 1992. We also help in the acquisition and payment of compensation.”

On the way forward for the institution, Abonta said that plans are ongoing to diversify the profession and improve their strategies for delivering their services; embracing ICT as hallmark for the services they render.

“We are also trying to nurture future generations of estate surveyors and valuers to sustain the legacy,” he added.

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

Only Washington Can Solve the Nation’s Housing Crisis

The federal government once promised to provide homes for every American. What happened?

In recent months America’s affordable housing crisis, a long-simmering issue for people of low and moderate incomes, has burst onto the front page. Rents are rising much faster than income, while the median home price in some 200 cities is $1 million. After a decade of decline, the number of homeless Americans is ticking back up.

The private market is clearly failing. Although many city and state governments are motivated to take action, they have limited tools at their disposal, and few of them equal to the task. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, at least under its current leadership, is hardly stepping up.

Indeed the very idea of a federal commitment to affordable housing seems unrealistic today. And yet not long ago, America made just such a promise: the Housing Act of 1949, which, in the optimism of the immediate postwar moment, vowed to provide “a decent home and a suitable living condition for every American family.” We need that same bold national vision today.

At its root, the crisis is a supply problem. Between 2011 and 2017, the country lost four million low-rent apartments. This has driven up demand for what remains, with the predictable result that a third of all households spend more than 30 percent of income for shelter. In many prospering cities, large numbers pay more than 50 percent.

Evictions are epidemic. Waiting lists for subsidized apartments and housing vouchers intended to help low-income Americans “move to opportunity” grow ever longer, so long that some cities have stopped taking new names. A recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard anticipates that rent restrictions could expire on about 1.2 million units by 2029.

Most Americans would agree that a stable residence is a prerequisite for steady employment, their children’s education and a thriving democratic society. A permanent address is required to vote, and consumers’ discretionary income — what they don’t spend on things like housing — fuels a healthy national economy.

And yet aside from a few Democratic presidential hopefuls, the political conversation around housing has been muted, and the political will to act at the federal level has been almost nonexistent.

That’s in sharp contrast to the mid 20th century. From the 1930s into the 1970s, the federal government intervened in private real estate markets on behalf of the general good, without fear of undermining the capitalist economy.

Under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the federal government built the first urban public housing. Although never aimed at the very poor, these projects provided much needed affordable homes for working people. During World War II, rent control was an accepted part of the price regulations needed on a home front vulnerable to inflation and shortages.

After the war, when the nation faced an enormous shortage of homes, Congress approved programs aimed at subsidizing the cost of housing for low- and moderate-income Americans. These programs never went as far as many “housers” — those committed to a European-style social housing agenda — would have liked, and were always constrained in scale by a vigilant real estate industry. But they still expanded the housing options available to those with limited incomes.

Labeled “urban redevelopment” in the Housing Act of 1949 and “urban renewal” in its successor, the Housing Act of 1954, these programs have been derided by many historians. Too much demolition took place, particularly in the early years, and city planners too often sought to replicate their suburban counterparts’ car-oriented schemes.

But there were also mortgage subsidies for nonprofit organizations and private developers constructing subsidized housing, rent subsidies to tenants, and funding to create housing for the elderly. Much attention has been paid to how the federal government created the postwar suburbanized metropolis, with its expansive highways and mortgage supports that favored suburban communities while redlining urban ones. But federal programs also helped cities stay viable from 1950 to 1975. Mistakes were made, but lessons were learned. And over time, redevelopers increasingly engaged local communities in planning.

What has particularly been forgotten are the progressive steps that federal subsidies made possible. For example, in 1968 New York State created the Urban Development Corporation, with a mandate to build thousands of units of subsidized housing and reinvigorate declining industrial cities. Under the direction of the veteran urban redeveloper Edward J. Logue, this authority relied on funding from state appropriations and private bond sales, but the real engine was robust federal backing, both in funds and political support.

During its seven-year run, it built 33,000 units of housing, developed three new towns — including the intentionally mixed-income, mixed-race and mixed-age Roosevelt Island in New York City — and fostered a spirit of architectural and technological innovation to find ways of delivering housing more efficiently, more aesthetically, and more affordably. Marcus Garvey Park Village in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood was a successful prototype of low-rise, high-density subsidized housing.

The Urban Development Corporation ran into trouble when it took a progressive step too far, using its statewide authority to tackle inequities between city and suburbs. In 1972, it began a project to build 100 affordable housing units in nine towns in wealthy Westchester County, provoking a fierce suburban backlash. That, combined with a 1973 moratorium by President Richard Nixon on all congressionally approved spending on housing and cities, spelled doom for the corporation — and a steady decline in federal responsibility for housing and cities.

Since the 1980s, the United States has primarily depended on private, market-oriented solutions to its housing and urban problems — strategies like using corporate tax credits to construct low-income housing, Section 8 vouchers and fees squeezed out of developers of luxury projects. But they aren’t enough to meet today’s crisis.

Moreover, too often cities find themselves racing each other to the bottom to woo corporate investors like Amazon, with giveaways that sacrifice future tax revenues and add burdens to city services.

The housing crisis and climate change raise different challenges, but solving both of them requires greater commitment to re-empowering the federal government to act in the public interest. Only Washington has the resources and the scope to tackle these dire threats to the nation’s and the planet’s future.

In 1975, Ed Logue, the visionary head of the Urban Development Corporation, said, “We cannot allow basic public policy” to be made “in corporate board rooms.” And yet, for half a century, that’s exactly what we have done, to our great misfortune.

Source: nytimes

South Africa: Soon-to-be Tabled Expropriation Bill to Ease Housing Backlog Pressures

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the soon to be introduced expropriation legislation will go a long way in easing the pressures of the housing backlog by availing more land for development.

Sisulu said this when she briefed media two hours before she tabled the department’s budget vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

The Minister said that this comes at the back of a need for belt-tightening by the department, which is expected to deliver more houses with less resources.

“As our population grows and our people go out in the streets and protest for housing, our resources diminish. It is for this reason that the expropriation processes are eagerly awaited by us because it will significantly assist us to offset the pressure.”

Sisulu said the department would make sure it works better and that it embraces the possibilities offered by new technologies.

She said that this would help the department to respond to all communities in an impactful manner.

“In working smarter, we are committed to resuscitate our relations with the construction industry.”

Sisulu said she intended to have an indaba with the construction industry at the earliest opportunity to strategise how the department can work better.

The Minister will propose legislation that will give the department the necessary power to restructure the environment in order to remove the frustrations of the construction industry.

“In 2004, we reframed our approach to housing development and took on the concept of human settlements as opposed to housing.

“The pivotal difference here was that we were no longer building houses, we were building communities with all its amenities.

“We were integrating our communities, all the while removing the segregation of apartheid spatial planning.

“We were building cities and increasing our output. We were partnering with the private sector, especially the banking sector and calling these partnerships catalytic projects.”

Building integrated communities with amenities

To date, government has built more than two catalytic projects in every province, some more successful than others.

This includes Cosmo City, a community that is multiclass, multiracial and multinational.

“The city consists of 12 000 units, with mixed typologies that range from fully subsidised houses to bonded houses and rental units. It is a thriving city with all the elements that our policy determines constitute a human settlement — complete with 12 schools, three shopping malls, health facilities, police stations, a community centre with a hall, 43 parks and recreational areas, a library, a cemetery and several churches,” she said.

She also spoke of Cornubia, another project in KwaZulu-Natal.

Once complete, Cornubia will consist of more than 28 000 housing units of various typologies – Breaking New Ground, social housing and open market units; seven secondary schools, 18 primary schools, four primary health clinics, two community centres, one police station, four multipurpose halls, three local libraries, two swimming pools, sports fields, parks, a fire station, a civic centre, crèche facilities and local retail facilities.

Focus on student accommodation

The Minister said, meanwhile, that the department will soon be entering the space of student accommodation.

“We will roll out our projects together with the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

“Our aim is to ensure that 30% of any social housing project should be allocated to student accommodation.” – SAnews.gov.za

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