One of the most pressing needs in Nigeria is housing. We have, in recent times, borne witness to the rise of informal settlements in unsafe environments and a rapidly increasing rate of homelessness. For most average families – surviving on a meagre income – the dream of owning their own homes seem a distant and sometimes inconceivable one.
This should not be so. Housing is a basic right for everyone, irrespective of their income. This is essentially where Family Homes Funds Limited (FHFL) comes in. Having commenced the affordable housing project in many states across Nigeria, the organization is set to include Niger state in that legacy.
With this project – which is a collaboration with the state government – FHFL steps in at a critical point where most households in Niger cannot afford the real estate loans granted by commercial banks for housing development.
The project, divided into three phases, will provide decent and affordable homes for at least 1,200 families in Niger state – a novelty. The Diko Housing Estate in Gurara Local Government Area is poised to create an enabling environment for modern living – all within a modest cost for the low to middle-income beneficiaries. With construction starting in March 2021, the first phase of the homes will be ready for new families as early as July 2021.
The building types, comprising of two-bedroom and three-bedroom bungalows, offer a wide range of options for families. The thrill for the beneficiaries is not limited to affordability but includes a quality that matches or sometimes exceeds that of market-rate housing.
Beaming with great hope, 35-year-old civil servant, Kabir Ahmed spoke about what this will mean to him and his family of five.
“I really look forward to owning one of these homes. This is nothing like what we are used to, especially because of the high-interest rate we must face whenever we want to apply for housing loans from banks. But in this case, they build the homes, you move in with your family and begin to pay gradually and comfortably without breaking the bank. It is an amazing opportunity,” he said.
As seen with other Family Homes Funds’ projects, the affordable housing ecosystem equally creates thousands of jobs for developers and builders, architects, property managers, site supervisors, artisans, electricians, iron benders, foremen, labourers, cleaners, storekeepers, security guards, food vendors, suppliers, and other products and service providers tied to the construction sites. This particular project in Niger creates more than 5,000 of those direct and indirect jobs that will sustain individuals and households.
Out of job since January, an artisan simply identified as Bala is already relishing the opportunity to get back to work with this project. He and his artisan friends have already been listed among artisans that will be employed on site. This is the story for many that will also be employed on the site, especially at a time when jobs are hard to come by.
The overall social impact of this project is substantial. For most families in Nigeria including Niger, rent is the single biggest expense, and often the most worrisome. But when low to middle-income families know that they can afford their rent or mortgage each month, it frees up their ability to spend more on other essential items. This is the impact of a project like this. The beneficiaries will have the benefit of flexible and long-term repayment options.
This affordable housing project is a much-needed boon to local and neighbourhood businesses. Now living in their own homes, the families will enjoy the liberty of starting their own small businesses to support each other – naturally creating a micro-business ecosystem that is much needed to grapple with current economic realities.
Once they move into their homes, the beneficiaries which include civil servants, members of cooperatives and other pre-qualified low to middle-income earners will begin to experience a new phase of economic prosperity and social assurance. For most people who already occupy Family Homes Funds’ estates in places like Nasarawa, Delta, Kano and others, owning their own homes – according to them – is one of their greatest achievements in life. Bouncing off these inspiring stories, Family Homes is now more determined to continue the spread of these homes.
Established to serve as a platform through which the Federal Government will finance the construction and acquisition of affordable homes across Nigeria,
Family Homes Funds Limited has become much more than a provider of homes, but also of jobs, communities, partnerships, and innovation.
In Yobe and Bauchi for example, 3,820 new homes will be ready in May 2021 for new families and businesses. The impact of these projects has already been seen in the number of jobs they created and the lives of families that are being changed through home ownership and employment. It is the same in Borno, Adamawa, and other states where the organization is committed to making real impact in the lives of those often neglected. With FHFL, housing has become an incredible tool for social impact and national development.