NHC to construct 9,000 houses in Changamwe

National Housing Corporation houses in Nairobi West. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The National Housing Corporation (NHC) has started work on a Sh384 million redevelopment project of Changamwe estate in Mombasa.

Housing Secretary Patrick Bucha told residents on Tuesday that 9,000 units will be built.

The estate currently hosts 792 units comprising stand-alone houses, bungalows and maisonettes, which will be demolished to pave way for the new houses.

“As a corporation we plan to develop the 9,000 units. We shall give priority to existing tenants who have cleared their rent arrears and have signed a tenancy agreement,” said Mr Bucha, who also doubles up as the acting NHC managing director.

He explained that the master plan of the project provided for the construction of high-rise residential housing units, commercial spaces and centres, a kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, recreational spaces, a sports facility, and other social amenities.

Bucha, however, expressed concerns that failure by residents to pay outstanding rent amounting to Sh124 million had delayed implementation of the project.

“Rent arrears are the major issue impeding our progress in this estate. The corporation’s management and the tenant leaders are, however, working together to ensure that the issue is sorted out harmoniously and with utmost speed," he said.

Housing Secretary and NHC Managing Director Patrick Bucha. [Tabitha Otwori, Standard]

Tenants affected by the project will not be compensated because construction will be done in phases hence there will be no need for evictions.

This means that the NHC will first build a few houses and once they are complete, eligible tenants will move in to pave way for demolition and upgrading of their old houses.

Phase One of the project, which saw the construction of 84 units, is already complete.

NHC Board of Directors chairman Stephen Ngare directed senior agency officials and residents to resolve the matter of overdue rent.

“I have issued a directive to the corporation’s management to ensure that the rent arrears matter is closed within two months, and that the existing tenants are fully involved and considered in the redevelopment and allocation of this project,” said Mr Ngare.

Residents pledged to pay rent in full within three months.

Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi welcomed the project. "I applaud the move by the State corporation to redevelop this estate. This project will improve the living standards of residents,” he said

Other estates that have been developed by NHC include Bububu and Jomo Kenyatta Makande.