State calls for bids as affordable housing project nears take-off

Plans to put up 500,000 affordable housing units across the country inched closer to reality yesterday after the Government invited developers to place bids for the project.

The Transport and Housing ministry opened the bids to both local and international developers for the project that will be executed over the next three years.

“The State Department for Housing and Urban Development is inviting interested and eligible strategic partners, including developers, investors, financiers and/or consortiums both local and international, with expertise in development of affordable mass housing to undertake projects under the affordable housing programme,” said the ministry in a notice.

Applicants should place their bids online through the newly-created website by April 30 to be considered for the programme.

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“This call for applications for strategic partners applies to the AHP (affordable housing programme) project pipeline as well as other affordable housing projects which meet the criteria set forth in the guidelines whether on private or public land,” said the ministry.

The bids are also open to private landowners willing to take part in the programme.

The Jubilee Government proposed the affordable housing programme as part of its Big Four agenda.

The plan has, however, faced problems, including a court order stopping employers from deducting money from employees for remittance to the National Housing Fund, an agency that will mobilise finances for the projects.

It has already received early backing from development partners like the World Bank and the United Nations.

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The UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) said earlier this year it would invest $10 million (Sh1 billion) seed capital to kick-start the project and would additionally mobilise other organisations to invest varying amounts, taking the total investment to $647 million (Sh64.7 billion).

The announcement is a follow-up to an agreement signed on the sidelines of the ongoing 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York in September last year with the Government for the delivery of 100,000 affordable housing units.

“As part of the agreement, UNOPS and its partners will seek to attract $647 million worth of investment to deliver at least 100,000 affordable and sustainable homes across the country,” said Grete Faremo, executive director, UNOPS, in a statement.

The agency said the houses would use green technologies and energy-efficient solar rooftops, while the implementation work will include local equipment, skills and expertise.

At the same time, the Transport, Housing and Urban Development ministry has invited contractors to put up 840 housing units for the Kenya National Police and Kenya Prisons Service staff in several parts of the country.

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Affordable HousingTransport and Housing ministryAHP