The number of families residing in overcrowded environments has been increasing for decades with little efforts made by the governing authorities to halt such upsurge. Inadequate basic infrastructural amenities, substandard housing, overcrowding, poor ventilation in homes and work places, non-compliance with housing plans are usually identifying signs of overcrowded places.
Many environments in the country are fast degenerating and factors responsible for this may be attributed to rapid urbanization, rural-urban migration, lack of sustainable economic growth over the decades, lack of friendly housing policies and implementation, high unemployment rate, these are amongst others.
It is not surprising to see how unavailability of affordable housing has forced many households to go into homes that are not their size because they are unable to afford to rent anywhere bigger. For this, going into informal settlements characterized by overcrowding, becomes a solace for them.
Renters in these areas are increasing daily as they spend large percent of their income on rent, more than any other family needs.
Also, it is difficult to see young home owners as it has decreased over the past decades due to sharp downturn of the country’s economy since the 70s, chiefly, lack of employment opportunities which is at an all-time high today is the main cause for this. Even pathways for youth to be self-employed and create housing opportunities for themselves is lacking.
Successive governments have failed to key adequately into social affordable housing needs or rather, they have failed to give renters/tenants the protection that they deserve. Many are becoming homeless in the country as of today, this should be blamed largely on the lack of affordable homes and highly expensive houses made by some home owners. This is because, there is no rent regulations put in place by the government to control rent prices in the country.
The plight of tenants stuck in these overcrowded places is becoming terribly increasing. With the present National Social Housing Program [NSHP] the government is carrying out, it should provide funding for more social homes which could provide a way out for tenants stuck in unsuitable overcrowded environments. If the supply of affordable social housing stalls by the government, it will further lead to a huge increase in the number of people living in these overcrowded environments.
More and more families will be packed into homes that are too small for them and considering the health and mental consequences this may come with, the hazard may be terrible if not checked. Struggling families, low income earners will always be the ones to suffer for this as a result.
What the government desperately need to do is to look for alternative means to houses put on rent by private house owners by keying massively into the provision of affordable social housing for these low income earners, the country has the resources to make this happen. Or, it should try to regulate the price of rent put by most homeowners to make it affordable for renters to make do with.