The county government has kicked off an ambitious Sh3 billion housing project.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said the project is intended to enable staff and residents occupy and own high quality houses.
“There is big shortage of housing in Kakamega. We don’t have decent houses. This has forced us to look into the problem by putting up modern houses,” he said.
The governor noted that newly transferred workers would spend an average of two months searching for rental accommodation.
The county has allocated 18 acres in Kakamega town, 15 acres in Mumias and six acres at Kari towards the sprawling project.
Kakamega town alone has a housing shortage of more than 5,000 units - a deficit which should slightly ease once the 3,000 units slated for construction are completed.
Key beneficiaries will be some of the 8,000 county employees, of whom 6,000 are stationed in the town. There are also 16,000 students from Masinde Muliro University, most who rent houses as far as 15km away.
Oparanya said they were engaging all key stakeholders to work out modalities of implementing the project by using new construction technology which is faster and cheaper.
“The investors will undertake the project on behalf of the county, providing all financing including mortgages and banking services,” he said.
Lands Executive Alfred Matianyi said the houses are to be built on land currently occupied by Mudiri Estate, an old airstrip and Kari. All the structures will be demolished before the site his handed over to private investors.
The employees will only own the houses after they pay off their mortgages, while some houses will be reserved for government use.
Oparanya noted that the project had delayed because of land ownership wrangles.
“The housing project would have been complete two years ago but slowness in approval from the national government derailed the programme. Public land was still under the ownership of the municipal council but I am happy we finalised the land transfer from the former local authorities to the county government,” he said.
The county government rents private buildings for some of its departments, while employees are forced to seek accommodation in satellite towns.