Land - the right to a safe home

Only through a secure right of residence would people be motivated enough to make a long-term contribution

Everybody has the human right to an adequate standard of living, which includes the secure right to stay in a property: a security of tenure. However, the reality in slums is different. Slum dwellers often have to give way, for instance when a city’s authorities decide to build structures, such as new expensive apartment blocks for a city beautification, motorways or large developments from private investors. Slum dwellers have to live with the daily fear of being evicted from their homes. They face the fear of having to find a new place from one day to another if necessary, building a house all over again or, in the worst case, ending up homeless.

A decade ago, over 900 million people living in urban areas lacked security of tenure and this figure has not decreased yet. It affects the poorest, especially women and children. Over the next 30 years, the number of slum dwellers is expected to double. Public housing systems may fail to handle such numbers.

Who wants to invest in a home, which has no property right? Security of tenure is a key factor to improve people’s living conditions in informal settlements and helps to fight poverty.

Tenure security can help individuals’ gain access to work and education; therefore can promote economic growth. Furthermore, land titling and associated property rights can result in greater daily security and peace, as well as habitants’ ability to demand services or apply for loans.

Our PSUP target

Securing the right to a safe home for everyone - falls under these SDGs:

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. All countries and stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, are starting to implement this plan. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets demonstrate the scale and ambition of this Agenda, which balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Reduce inequality within and among countries

Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

What we do

PSUP works with local authorities and national governments to secure slum dwellers’ rights and secure land for slum dwellers. We develop solutions that benefit all involved, including tenants and landlords, whilst institutionalising and enforcing no forced evictions policies. Up until now, our work has provided more than 800,000 slum dwellers with secure tenure in nine countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, and Senegal.

Good Practice Example

In a pilot project, two slum villages near Mtwapa, a town north of Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa are primarily pursuing the issue of title deeds. The communities need roads that can be accessed by cars, ambulances and garbage trucks. Street lighting and footpaths will be included. Space needs to be created for that. Together with PSUP and in close collaboration with the national and county governments, both communities have chosen to make commitments. For the access roads to be expanded, the plot sizes need to be reduced, or many a structure would have to be brought down. As a trade-off, the Government of Kenya is committed to providing land title deeds to the slum dwellers.

Read More