A systems approach to housing delivery for the low and middle level public sector employees in Kenya

Author: Ochieng’, , Raphael R O

Supervisors: Edwin Oyaro Ondieki; Ing.Christopher M.Mbatha and Paul M.Syagga

Accessibility to adequate and quality housing by low and middle-income public sector earners remains a major challenge world over particularly in developing countries. Kenya, for instance, has encountered hurdles in provision of adequate and quality housing for the low and middle-income public sector employees who form over 90% of the total workforce. The housing crisis may be partly traced to the in-adequacy of housing delivery system components and failure of the systems components to operate in synergistic manner. This study therefore applied systems approach to evaluate the provision of quality housing for the low and middle level public sector employees. A system in the context of this study is a coherent entity as a whole but with parts that are interdependent and interactive amongst themselves and the immediate environment for a common objective and purpose. The study was conducted in the City of Nairobi and focussed on 5 Public Housing Schemes with a total of 1016 households. 259 public sector housing experts, 52 key housing informants and 5 previous lead consultants were also part of the target population. Stratified random and systematic random sampling techniques were applied to identify housing units, households and public housing experts. Structured questionnaires were administered to 235 households and 60 public servants while 12 key informants and 5 previous lead consultants who were purposively selected were interviewed. Further data were obtained from observation by the researcher and records maintained by purposively selected public and private institutions. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while qualitative data were analysed through the grounded theory technique. Charles Spearman‟s rank correlation analysis was adopted in correlating independent and dependent variables while Chi-square test was applied to test null hypotheses. The findings have shown that the existing housing delivery approach is not a fully operational system since it lacks basic configuration and characteristics of a system. The null hypotheses were rejected implying that there are relationships between both housing cost and household income with affordability and customer satisfaction. The most significant challenges of the existing housing delivery approach included lack of / high cost of land / infrastructure, high cost of construction, in-adequate financing, lack of focus in research into cheap alternative materials / technology, lack of integrated planning, low household income and lack of political good will. The study recommended policy initiatives that include lowering taxation on construction inputs, enhancing research into cheap alternative materials / technology, streamlining land administration / management, reviewing of planning / approval process, subsidizing rent / mortgage rate, controlling of macro-economic environment and reforming of the existing housing policy.