Affordable houses to occupy prisons land in major towns, says Housing PS Hinga

Housing Principal Secretary (PS) Charles Hinga speaking at an event in Nairobi on February 8, 2023. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Housing Principal Secretary (PS) Charles Hinga has said that the government is planning to relocate prisons built in major towns to create room for the affordable housing project.

Speaking at the Induction of the Senate Committee on Roads, Transport and Housing on Friday, February 17 in Naivasha, Nakuru County, the PS said correctional facilities located in busy towns have curtailed expansion.

Some of the prisons located in major towns include Lang'ata and Indsutrial Area, which are in Nairobi County, Murang'a Prison, Thika Prison and Nanyuki Prison.

The PS further said that the government is contemplating introducing idle land tax to discourage Kenyans from holding onto land for speculative purposes.

The State officer said this would prompt the owners of the land to either build structures on them, or sell the land to commercial developers.

Hinga said the government has now been forced to turn to State-owned facilities such as prisons to get land for the affordable housing project because Kenyans have refused to sell.

According to the PS, once the affordable housing project gains momentum countrywide, the mushrooming of slums will be contained.

Hinga said affordable housing remains a major challenge for most city dwellers, stating that 92 per cent of Nairobi residents live in rented houses.

Hinga stated that the government is currently constructing some 26,788 housing units across the country.

Makongeni, Starehe and Thika projects, which will have 50,000 housing units, are expected to be launched by May 2023, the PS said.