LinkBuild provides innovative housing solutions that are demand driven, participatory in their design and financially self-sustaining. Historically, the main approach that has been adopted by the Philippines Alliance across its regions has been to provide families with core housing.
The core-housing program was conceived as an affordable housing program for the urban poor, who due to their economic and legal instability – lack of stable income and land ownership - are not eligible for commercial housing loans or schemes. So far, 108 housing units – spread across three projects – have seen the day across the country.
For the majority of projects, land was provided to the qualified beneficiaries by the local government, under its socialized housing program. To ensure habitability, houses were co-designed by the community organisations through several rounds of workshops. The design also varies according to the minimum standards laid out by the conditions of the site, and BP 220, the law governing the minimum design requirements for socialized and economic housing.
The core house construction provides families with the outer structural shell of the dwelling, all plumbing and electrical provisions, as well as the septic tank system for wastewater treatment. Once the housing units are turned over to the families, they may then install the apertures, floor membrane and all interior finishes over time.
LinkBuild’s latest programme is an ambitious integrated land and housing development scheme. The objective remains the same as the core-housing programme, namely to provide affordable housing for communities without land security and opportunity to change this. To do so, LinkBuild purchases and develops land to build a combination of surplus-generating housing and pro-poor housing. The surplus housing – which is usually aimed at middle-income individuals and families – allows the community to afford the purchase of land as well as the construction of core housing.
By purchasing land, LinkBuild is able to develop land that is usually prone to speculative developments with little concern for poor urban communities. The development of the purchased site encompasses provision of a range of services and infrastructure. Depending on the original condition of the site, development could include landfilling, the installation of infrastructure, such as wastewater treatment and rainwater harvesting facilities, water supply and electricity connections, road construction and other facilities such as playground and open spaces.
In order to help lower the cost to communities, LinkBuild will explore leveraging support for site development in various ways; if the project is run in partnership with the LGU, they may then take full or partial responsibility for the site development. If this is not possible, for example due to the lack of funding, support from private developers may be a possibility through the 20% balanced housing compliance, wherein developers of residential subdivisions are mandated by law to dedicate 20% of their housing projects to socialised housing.
Building on extensive market research and consultations with local communities, LinkBuild is able to deliver projects that actively contribute to the integration of marginalised communities to the existing city fabric. This model allows the project to be financially self-sustaining and could allow financing subsequent pro-poor housing programmes.
In partnership with CORE-ACS - the Philippine Alliance’s micro finance facility - LinkBuild supports the provision of incremental loans to urban-poor communities. Unlike the Core Housing projects, it is targeted at communities with secure tenure, or who are in the process of obtaining one, and are in no danger of being evicted or relocated.
Through small, targeted loans – ranging from PHP 10,000 to PHP 50,000 - this programme allows families to incrementally develop, improve or replace specific components of existing houses towards becoming more permanent, according to each family's financial capacity. Most of the targeted families live in very poor and precarious housing conditions where around 50%-80% of the structures need improvement.
Examples of these are those who have been awarded plots in government relocation sites, those who have purchased or are in the process of purchasing land through CMP, direct purchase or by some other means; and those on donated land or on land proclaimed for socialised housing.
Incremental loans allow achieving multiple objectives as follows: (1) To be able to respond to immediate shelter needs of families who have obtained or are in the process of obtaining secure land tenure, i.e. awardees of plots in government relocation sites; communities who purchased land directly or via government financing, i.e. CMP; (2) For HPFPI, this project will help strengthen and complement existing group savings schemes that exist in many of the targeted communities, and consequently, reinforce their organising efforts.