Viva Venezuela!

What a difference benevolent government policies can make to a society.

Venezuela’s low-cost housing programme is building new homes at a breakneck pace of over 200 a day, according to the government.  

Here, Statistics New Zealand figures show more than 21,000 new dwellings were approved last year, 26 percent more than in the previous year. Housing Minister Nick Smith says he’s expecting 4,800 homes to be built on his 86 Special Housing Areas (SHA). according to the New Zealand Herald. About 500 homes have been built, with a total of 10,000 homes to be completed within the next three years.

The Venezuelan government’s housing mission has constructed nearly 100,000 new homes – since the start of the year – according to figures released Tuesday.

The mission has now constructed a total of 752,585 housing units, Housing Minister Manuel Quevedo said. In January the ministry put the number of completed housing units at just under 676,000, suggesting the government is building an average of more than 200 units each day.

“At this rate, 1 million people will be provided with homes by the end of 2015,” Quevedo said. One of the Venezuelan government’s most popular social initiatives, the housing mission was first launched to provide shelter for people who lost their homes in devastating floods that hit the country in 2010.

However, since then, the mission has expanded to provide low-cost housing to the wider population, with poor families receiving priority. Units are generally provided fully furnished. The houses are offered either for free or at a low cost, depending on the means of the prospective owners.

Here, the poor and the needy seem to come last with Smith saying:  “Clearly someone thinks they’re affordable because they bought it.”

The SHAs are properties specifically designated to allow the residential zoning to be fast-tracked and achieved within a few months, something that would normally take around seven years.

Smith says there is only so much a government can do to control a housing market. “It’s a market. So we don’t have complete control of the price or any of those factors. Our job is to get the regulatory framework right… (Really? What about all those state houses built by successive Governments over the past 70 years?)

In 2011, then-President Hugo Chavez explained that the mission would address the ‘social debt’ left behind by former governments that failed to provide quality housing to all Venezuelans.   Content originally published by teleSUR at:

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.