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DVB Debate: Housing the homeless

Burma’s 2014 census found that roughly one third of the country’s population live in urban areas. Seventy percent of those people live in Rangoon.

People from across Burma continue to flock to the former capital, as well as Burma’s second city of Mandalay.

Economic and political reforms have only encouraged this pattern of mass urbanization.

Yet for many, hopes of a new job and a new life in the big city never come to fruition, leaving many living on the streets.

On this week’s episode of DVB Debate, panelists ask what must be done to house the homeless.

In 2013, the Burmese government began a programme providing low cost housing in Rangoon, where house prices have sored as a result of a sharp influx of foreign investment.

The Civil and Housing Department says it aims to provide options to poor families by constructing over forty thousand dwellings over the next four years.

Ko Ko Htwe, a construction company executive, suggested that the government needs to boost this plan by providing low cost loans to developers, as well as making more land available for the construction of low-cost housing.

However Mi Mi Tin, the director of the Civil and Housing Department, said that the government does not have the required land at its disposal.

“We need to buy the land from famers by giving them a reasonable amount of money.”

Rangoon parliamentarian U Kyaw insists that the programme is delivering low cost housing, he says that it is not necessarily affordable housing. He says the government constructions are still out of reach for those in need.

“It is very difficult for people at the grass roots to even dream of it.”

Join the debate in the comments section, or watch the full debate in Burmese at dvbdebate.net