THE SUCCESS of the Ban Mankong housing project for the poor in Khon Kaen province has inspired the military government to adopt an ambitious goal of creating accommodation for 4 million poor people over the next 20 years.
More than a thousand underprivileged families live in houses built by community savings in the province’s Chum Phae district, courtesy of low-interest loans from a government housing agency, the Community Organisations Development Institute (CODI).
“We are self-reliant. We have formed a community group, acquired a collective land title and we pay our house loans by ourselves,” said Chum Phae community leader Sanong Rauysungnoen, at a panel held to commemorate World Habitat Day and World Cities Day hosted by UNESCAP and UN Habitat.
From humble beginnings …
The Ban Mankong housing project started nationwide in 2003. The panel discussion was held to commemorate one project – a collaboration between the Chum Phae town municipality and the CODI along with those people, including Sanong, who were sorely in need of a house.
The Chum Phae district started with only eight housing projects for 400 poor households but expanded to 13 projects covering a further 600 households, Sanong said. “First, there were as many as 3,000 households who wanted a house, but when they knew the house was not given for free and they had to save money to buy it, some left the project, leaving only 395 households in real need,” she said.
Under the scheme, low-income families have managed to buy a home through loans with generous conditions they could never have dreamed of getting from commercial banks.
According to a book about the Chum Phai community published by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the first phase started in 2003 with 30 houses, worth about Bt4.3 million in total.
It took the community two years to save the down payments before construction began. After that, each family paid about Bt1,200-Bt1,400 a month. Within the next two years or so, the first 30 Chum Phae households will have paid off their entire loans. As many as a thousand houses have so far been built for the poorest people in Chum Phae, which has become a model for other communities nationwide and inspired the Housing Master Plan launched in 2017.
Under that master plan, about 4 million households now living precariously will enjoy decent houses and good livelihoods by 2036.
The three agencies responsible for the housing scheme are the CODI, the National Housing Authority and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
The CODI alone is expected to provide accommodation to 1 million poor people.