CODI's Collective Housing program was launched by the Thai government in January 2003, as part of its efforts to address the housing problems of the country’s poorest urban citizens. The program channels government funds, in the form of infrastructure subsidies and soft housing and land loans, directly to informal squatter communities, which plan and carry out improvements to their housing, environment, basic services and tenure security and manage the budget themselves.
Instead of handing out housing units to individual families, the Collective Housing program puts Thailand’s informal squatter communities at the center of a process of developing long-term solutions to problems of land and housing in Thai cities.
As part of this unconventional program, which is being implemented by CODI (a public organization under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security), poor communities work in close collaboration with their local governments, professionals, universities and NGOs to survey all the communities in their cites and then plan an upgrading process which attempts to improve all the communities in that city - all of them - within a few years. Once these city-wide plans are finalized and upgrading projects are selected, CODI channels the infrastructure subsidies and housing loans directly to the communities.
This housing experiment in Thailand is the result of a process which has been developing over the past thirteen years, starting with building community savings activities around the country, then forming and strengthening large-scale networks of poor communities, and finally using these people’s managerial skills to deal with housing problems at city scale.
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