Diversifying pathways to affordable shelter for all in Nairobi, IIED Policy brief Article uri icon


  • For nearly 50 years the Kenya Government housing policies have sought to [increasingly] enable low income households pay for and own a home in an urban area such as Nairobi. Various financing strategies have been applied towards this goal including subsidizing the cost of the housing unit or the cost of credit, increasing access to long term mortgage capital as well as providing social housing. These strategies have however repeatedly failed in making any meaningful impact on access to adequate housing for all as enshrined in article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. In this brief we argue that this “one household – one housing opportunity” home ownership paradigm fails on two significant aspects: ​ It fundamentally assumes the willingness to pay for and live in affordable urban homes by the estimated one million Nairobi low income households. The policy is also blind to the reality of a private rental market in urban areas and does not seek to explain its persistence since independence. We propose policy expansion beyond home-ownership paradigm to include interventions that stimulate institutional investment in a Lease – to – Build – to – Rent affordable housing framework while safeguarding the right to city for vulnerable groups

publication date

  • 2020