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Finance for low-income housing and community development

Diana Mitlin

Briefing, 6 pages

Over the last 15 years, there has been much innovation in finance to support housing and community development for low-income groups – even though most governments and official aid agencies have paid little or no attention to this. Most of these schemes had savings as an important component. For some schemes, and for many households, savings is the only source of investment finance, as incomes are too low or uncertain to ensure loan repayments. Many of the largest and most effective financial schemes have been cases where the resources and capabilities of low-income households have combined with the efforts of supporting local NGOs and local governments. Even where local governments lack capacity to provide financial support, they have important roles in allowing improvements in informal settlements, helping allocate land for low-income housing and being flexible in the application of standards. International funding agencies would get a much greater development return on their funding if they developed the capacity to support these kinds of local grassroots-local NGO-local government partnerships.

This brief is a summary of the October 2007 and April 2008 issue of Environment and Urbanization on the theme Finance for low-income housing and community development

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