According to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities it recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to adequate housing and their right to social protection (article 28). The Convention was adopted in 2006 and ratified by 180 countries, where Kenya is one of the earliest countries to do so.
more importantly in 2017 Kenya adapted the big 4 agenda where affordable housing is one of the key issue.
Where are we:
Arguably, there have been back and forth debates on how the public will be entitled to the affordable housing schemes in Kenya.
There has no been any agreeable way between the 3 arms of government and the public at large.
The lack of public participation in the affordable housing seam to have reached rock bottom.
This is coupled with lack of clear policy frameworks which could ultimately have guided the process.
In Jamuhuri 2019 the president of Kenya seem to have soften the stand on involuntary housing contribution. This has led to treasury in 2020 February budget policy estimates to the Parliament to say that it will allocated 0 budget for housing plan.
Although the private sector is investing on the housing agenda.
What’s happening at the National level?
In 2015, the UN Member States adopted the Sustainable Development Goals which call for access for all to affordable housing and implementation of appropriate social protections systems for all, including persons with disabilities (Goals 11 and 1).
But Kenyans with disabilities remain largely invisible in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these commitments. Notably, Lack of reliable and timely data, evidence and research on persons with disabilities continue to pose challenges to the inclusion of persons with disabilities and the full implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, including Goals 1 and 11.
This is affirmed by the latest Kenya bureau of statistics 2020 where disabled numbers dwindled.
Lessons for policy makers in the disability sector:
Mobilization of expertise on disability inclusion in housing agenda needs to be considered.
Disabled persons organizations need to participate in public participation forums to ensure their issues are hard by the ministry of housing and transport.
The disability sector policy makers need to resource and facilitate disabled Kenyans to this process of ensuring inclusive measures are observed.
The disability sector should demand 15 % of the housing units being constructed to be accessible and owned by disabled Kenyans.
The UN report 2018 shows that despite the progress made in recent years, persons with disabilities continue to face numerous barriers to access affordable and adequate housing and a disproportionate number of persons with disabilities are homeless. They face many barriers that prevent them from enjoying their right to adequate housing, including higher levels poverty, lack of access to employment, discrimination and lack of support for independent living.
On the other hand, On 19th February 2020 the gavel fell on the
58th session of the UN Commission for Social Development,
which agreed the text of the historical first United Nations resolution on homelessness. A serious violation of human dignity, homelessness has become
a global problem. It is affecting people of all ages from all walks of life, in both developed and developing countries.
Relevance of data:
Globally, 1.6 billion people worldwide live in inadequate housing conditions, with about 15 million forcefully evicted every year, according to UN-Habitat,
which has noted an alarming rise in homelessness in the last 10 years. Young people are the age group with the highest risk of becoming homeless.
The UN Commission’s resolution recognizes that people are often pushed into homelessness by a range of diverse social and economic drivers.
“It could happen to anyone. It’s not always drugs, alcohol. It’s not always something external. Life happens. And life can happen to a whole lot of us.
It did during the great financial crisis, and it could very well happen again”, said Chris Gardner, who had described his experience of homelessness in
his bestselling book, “The Pursuit of Happiness”.
“We, as a great human society, we are diminished, we lose the gift of their creativity, the gift of their curiosity, the gift of their potential when it
is marooned by all downstream consequences of homelessness”, said Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland.
“I will never forget my first experience with homelessness. I, unfortunately, was born into a family plagued by a chain of events which included domestic
violence”, added Chris Gardner. “My one regret about being here today is that the two most important people in the world to me couldn’t be here today‐‐‐I’m
referring to my granddaughter and my goddaughter. One of them says that she wants to become the President of the United States and the other one says
that she wants to become an astronaut and go to the moon. And you know what I say to both of them every day? Let’s go!!! THAT’S THE POWER of ONE!”
In its resolution of the UN Commission for Social Development calls for a response by all sectors within Governments and societies. The Commission recommended
the resolution for adoption by the UN Economic and Social Council later this year.
The Commission also celebrated the
25th anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development
and its Copenhagen Declaration. Stakeholders and experts from all over the world expressed strong support for the work of the Commission, noting that
the outcome of the Copenhagen Summit remains relevant today and continues to guide social development in their countries.
Kenya ministry of social protection was recognized on this event.
All in all with the current trends in Kenya it remains a pipe dream for having accessible housing in place.
This is because there are no adequate measure or regulation in place to ensure real inclusion is achieved in housing agenda.
What remains is the low confused undertones among the Kenyan disability community without knowing which direction to take!
The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.