Baan Mankong Collective Housing


Background


At the heart of the Collective Housing Program, is the belief that community members should be responsible for their own development.

CODI works alongside the communities, offering technical assistance and support through out the process. However, community members are the primary actors and are ultimately responsible for the success and sustainability of the project.

Launched in 2003, the Collective Housing Program puts slum dwellers at the center of the development process by allowing them to plan and manage solutions to their housing problems.

Instead of delivering housing units to individual poor families, the Baan Mankong Program encourages existing slum communities to form co-ops and develop their housing in a collective way; each participating community would end up having a collective land title. This method is designed to discourage speculators from buying off individual housing units from the poor and selling them out to higher income groups. Collective housing provides the security for low-income families so that they can have access to jobs in the city - usually as day laborers and street vendors - and where they can have the opportunity to get out of poverty.

CODI channels government funds in the form of infrastructure subsidies and soft loans directly to the poor communities. Communities then purchase land or negotiate long-term leases and upgrade the housing stock as necessary.

Process

To initiate a CODI-sponsored Collective Housing project, a community must form a savings group and prove their financial responsibility. Over the course of 6 months to 2 years, the community saves enough money for a down payment of 10% of the estimated project costs. During the process, the community forms small groups to plan a strategy to secure housing and design a new layout. The following are the fives types of upgrading:

On-site improvement: These projects help solve land tenure problems, improve the physical environment and basic services in existing communities with minimal adjustments to layouts or plot sizes.

Reblocking: Reblocking is a systematic way to improve infrastructure and physical conditions in existing communities along with land tenure security. Layouts of houses and roads are adjusted so that new sewers, drains, walkways and roads can be conveniently installed.

Land sharing:
Land-owners and the community agree to share the land. A portion of the land is either given, sold or leased to the community where housing is to be reconstructed, allowing both parties to settle their conflicts and occupy the land legally.

Reconstruction:
Existing communities are totally demolished and rebuilt, after the community has secured the land either under long-term leases or purchases. The land security encourages occupants to invest in new reconstruction.

Relocation: Occupants are relocated through land use rights, ownership or long-term leases, all of which provide increased housing security. Communities ideally relocate to land that is within 5km of their current location. However, some rural communities establish new agricultural-based communities. Communities that choose to relocate face reconstruction costs and, in some cases, land costs.

Flexible Financing

Soft loans are made to communities for the purchase of new land (in case of relocation) and improvement or construction of houses. The interest rate is subsidized by the government, allowing the communities to borrow at 4%.

The ceiling for land and housing loans together is 300,000 Baht ($9,000) per family; housing loans alone are capped at 200,000 Baht ($6,000) per family. All loans are made collectively to the community cooperative, not to individual families. With both housing and land loans, the community cooperatives must save 10% of the amount they borrow from CODI and keep the funds in a community saving account during the repayment period.

The government also provides specific subsidies to support the development process.

Infrastructure Subsidy:

- On-site Upgrading Subsidy:
25,000 baht (US$715) per family for onsite-communities upgrades/repairs.

- Reconstruction Subsidy: 35,000 baht ($1000) per family for communities rebuilding their settlement on the land they now occupy or for communities relocating to different land and rebuilding there. In special cases where the cost of filling land or infrastructure is very high, the per family subsidy can go up to 45,000 baht (US $ 1,285)

- Additional Subsidies:
Additional subsidies are available on a case by case basis to help communities do heavy land filling if their land is low-lying, to install household sewage treatment systems, to landscape the newly upgraded settlement (20,000 Baht or $600 per community), to liven up the visual character of the new community (200,000 Baht or $6,000 per community), to construct temporary houses in case of fire or eviction (18,000 Baht or $500 per community), or to construct a community meeting house (18,000 Baht or $500 per community).

Administrative Subsidy:
A grant equal to 5% of the total infrastructure subsidy is provided to the community organization and their partners for administrative costs they incur.

Process Support Subsidy:
This subsidy supports the various activities that go along with the upgrading planning process, including exchange visits between cities, seminars at various scales, meetings, coordination costs, on-the-job training activities, support for the community network's involvement in the upgrading process and salaries.

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