The role of the national housing authority(NHA) in alleviating housing problems for low income earners in Lusaka,Zambia
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Housing problems particularly for low income earners have persisted inspite of the fact that the National Housing Authority (NHA) has been providing to the public high, medium and low cost housing units on both rental and outright purchase arrangement. Thus, the aim of this Study was to investigate the role of NHA in alleviating housing problems for low income earners in Lusaka district. The specific objectives were as follows: (1) to describe the socio-economic profile of occupants of NHA’s low cost housing units; (2) to find out what housing initiatives NHA has for low income earners; (3) to identify challenges NHA faces in providing housing for low income earners. The Study employed a mixed methods embedded research design owing to the fact that it sought both qualitative and quantitative answers, although the research was largely qualitative. The population for the Study was occupants of NHA’s low cost housing units at Bennie Mwiinga and Nyumba Yanga housing complexes as well as Director level officials from NHA. The sample size for the Study was 101. This was broken down into 100 occupants of NHA’s low cost housing units, as well as a key informant (senior official) from NHA. Having purposively selected the two housing complexes, 100 low cost housing occupants were selected randomly using a list of addresses which acted as a sampling frame. Low cost housing units were selected because they should normally be more affordable compared to medium and high cost units. The key informant was selected purposively owing to their expertise in issues pertaining to low cost and low income housing. Both primary and secondary data sources were utilized. A structured questionnaire, with closed ended questions was used to collect data from occupants of NHA’s low cost housing units. An interview guide, with open ended questions was employed to collect data from the NHA official. Data pertaining to the first objective (which was quantitative in nature) was analyzed using SPSS version 20. Qualitative data arising from objectives 2 and 3 was analyzed thematically. The findings of the Study were as follows: With regard to the first research objective, the Study established that most of the people who occupy NHA’s low cost housing units are in a socio-economic category that does not reflect the conditions of low income earners. Regarding the second specific objective, the Study revealed two major findings. First, the housing initiatives already undertaken by NHA were unaffordable to low income earners. Second, some initiatives targeting low income earners had not yet been implemented. In reference to the third specific objective, the Study found out that the major challenge encountered by NHA is the erratic funding from the Government. The Study concludes that NHA has not played a significant role in alleviating housing problems for low income earners due to a discrepancy between institutional mandate and operational approach. The Study recommends that the Government of Zambia should provide a matrix of conducive policy, institutional and financial measures that will enable NHA to effectively fulfill its mandate of contributing to the alleviation of housing problems among the low income earners in Zambia. In terms of suggestion for further research, the Study recommends a detailed research on the viability and suitability of non-conventional low cost housing technology to Zambia, among other recommendations.