Namibia: Governor Talks Tough On Homelessness

13 August 2020

Walvis Bay — Erongo governor Neville Andre yesterday made a commitment to address the poor housing situation in the region, which has seen thousands languishing in shacks.

"We have to take a brutally honest look around us, the shacks that the people are still living in - the land earmarked for development and have budgetary allocations made thereto is still standing bare," Andre said in his maiden state of the region address at Swakopmund.

"I take responsibility as governor for all these gaps and want to acknowledge with humility to every resident of the Erongo region that I will ensure that we do better in responding and deliver to meet the needs of our people."

He added that the urgency for serviced land, housing and safety nets is now at its highest and that local authorities are now tasked to fast-track the provision of affordable housing and land to local residents.

"I want to be extremely clear and unequivocal about this, there will be zero tolerance for the lack of urgency with regard to implementation of regional development programmes and initiatives in the region," the governor said.

Specifically addressing the housing challenges in the region, Andre explained that the Build Together Programme and other housing initiatives through public-private partnership at Walvis Bay delivered 860 houses during the 2019/2020 financial year.

The Swakopmund municipality also delivered 149 houses during the same financial year, while it has in addition provided social housing with a rent-to-own option.

This option, according to the governor, enhances access to affordable housing for low-income and middle-income earners that do not have access to credit financing.

The Swakopmund council also approved an eight-block development that will provide 1 300 residential and 30 business plots, which in turn will address the medium to long-term objective of providing housing for low and middle-income earners.

"I urge the local authorities in the region to continue striving towards quality housing for all and facilitate partnerships with entities such as the mining and fishing sectors by providing serviced land and addressing the vacuum in housing in the region," he said.

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