Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Affordable housing

One thing we love about Ecuador is how self sufficient it is as a country. President Correa tries very hard to make sure that the things that are produced in country are affordable, subsidizing whenever necessary.  (there is even a system in place so people can't price gouge and take more than their share, Every factory manufactured package has a price printed on the label, the big grocery stores charge less than this price, but sometimes not by much, for instance, the flour tortillas I get are priced in the big city at $2.00, the price printed on the label is $2.20, sometimes I buy them from Jenny in town for $2, but I would certainly pay the extra .20 cents for the convenience.) Ok back to my story, subsidized housing...

Back in 1998 the government started a program that was designed to improve people's housing, applicants would apply and get funding to bring their houses up to current standards. The amount that was given was $750, or $850 in a historic area. Now that doesn't sound like much, but when you think about the shanty houses these people were living in, A LOT can be done with $750!

In 2001, there were about 3,456,103 housing units in the country. About 72% of all housing units were detached, single-family homes, 9% were apartments, and 4% were ranchos or covachas, dwellings of wood, stone, or brick covered with palm leaves, straw or other vegetation. About 20,085 dwellings were choza, temporary shacks or huts. Owners occupied 67%. About 18% of the population live in inadequate housing structures. 

In 2005 they restructured part of this program, aiming at helping the middle class families, this came in the form of new housing construction vouchers, up to $1800 to help with the cost if they built a new home. They also started many programs in the bigger cities to urbanize and develop neighborhoods, hoping to  entice the tourism trade, and bring down crime.

The Housing Municipality has once again restructured, and is continuing to help with affordable housing, these days a family can get a house built for $5000. They must provide proof of land ownership, and only have to pay 40%, the government picks up the rest. This is the little house they get.

I believe it's two bedroom, one bath, and there may be bigger versions for bigger families, I'm not sure. There are quite a lot of them around, and I enjoy knowing part of the story. Our good friend Joffre has submitted an application, he has land not too far from his hardware shop.

I guess that's all on that subject, I'm sure I've mentioned before the fishermen's motors were all subsidized, cost $1400, avail for purchase at $750, and the women with children(who qualify) of Manabi get $80 per month to help with the cost of living and raising children...and speaking of children!

Our little friends, "the urchins" taking advantage of the lagoon in front of the house last night. They had so much fun playing with those boat rollers, at one point had four or five, but couldn't quite get them hooked together to make a raft. Good times! Well, that's it for today...stay tuned, the adventure continues!

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