The Challenge of Meeting Shelter Needs in Less Developed Countries

ID-77-39: Published: Nov 4, 1977. Publicly Released: Nov 4, 1977.

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Inadequate housing, exacerbated by rapid haphazard urban growth, can profoundly affect the overall development prospects in developing countries. The housing crisis is an important factor in the overall deterioration in the quality of life in these countries.

To reach the lowest income levels and the most people, international donors have sought to reduce housing costs to a minimum. Most U.S. housing assistance abroad has been provided by the Agency for International Development's (AID) Housing Investment Guaranty Program under which the U.S. Government guarantees repayment of principal and interest to U.S. investors for housing loans to borrowers in less developed countries.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID) should distribute available housing guaranties according to demand and eligibility among the more low-income nations; work more closely with host country housing and economic planning officials to make sure that subsidies are minimized and their source fully planned for and that guaranties serve to develop host country institutions capable of matching the kind of low-income housing initiated by the program; improve coordination by establishing more effective lines of communication among the geographic bureaus, Agency missions, and the Office of Housing within the Agency to make sure that all Housing Investment Guaranty projects are planned, programmed, and carried out as part of the country's overall development; and improve the level of economic analysis in countries where Housing Investment Guaranty projects are planned. The Secretaries of State and the Treasury and the Administrator of AID should encourage international agencies to establish and excute integrated development plans that recognize housing as a necessary component of development and direct funds to countries whose shelter needs are greatest.

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