The government is preparing to develop a policy for constructing public housing for low-income and lower middle-income earners in Cambodia. Although still in the capacity-building stage, the plan, if enacted, could ease the burden for struggling families as property prices have steadily increased in stride with the continued urbanization of Cambodia.
Dr. Peng Hong Socheat Khemro, general director of Ministry’s Housing Department for the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, is responsible for designing and possibly implementing a public housing policy. The government official spoke with Post Property to discuss the current state of affairs.
How far along is the government’s public housing policy?
Since the government has been [considering] implementing a public housing policy, a permanent mechanism could be created within the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction. The Housing Department is currently supported by three sub-departments, and we are currently aiding those three departments by creating four more offices in order to have enough human resources to work on this project.
At the same time that offices are being created in the capital, we are also branching out into the provinces, because they are also participating in the project to develop a public housing policy. This project is nationwide. Afterwards, we will move on to other cities, districts and communes.
Therefore, our first job is to develop the mechanism. Our second job is to educate national, provincial and commune-level government officials about what we are trying to do.
When will the public housing project begin?
We will move on to the construction trial stage only when we have the mechanism and the ability, which will possibly begin in 2017 or 2018. The project implementation is dependent on discussions with land authorities.
How will the benefits from this project be evaluated?
The objective of the national housing policy is based on addressing housing problems for lower middle-income people, low-income people and vulnerable people.
What is the size of the budget the government has allocated for this project government?
The housing department within the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction would use funds from the national budget. When we get the mechanism in place and are capable, the government may give us a budget for this project. Only after we gather enough data will we know how many houses would need to be constructed.
Up until now, who are the development partners supporting this project?
We have cooperated with many partners. We have signed a memorandum with the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights. Recently, Senior Minister Em Chun Lim, minister of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction went to Japan to study public housing projects. Japan has promised to provide specialists who have experience with these projects.
What could the public housing buildings look like? And what will they be priced at?
There are two types of public housing that we are considering constructing. The first would be homes for sale and the second would be homes that lower-middle income workers could rent. The price will depend on the result of the studies and data collection conducted by the housing department.