By Petronella Sibeene ARANOS With a huge number of Aranos residents living in plastic shacks, Governor of the Hardap region Katrina Hansen has urged people in her region to join house-building projects such as the Shack Dwellers Association in order to address the housing shortage. Speaking to New Era yesterday, Hansen confirmed that shelter remains the greatest challenge for the region. “Most people in Aranos area and the region at large live in plastic made houses. Most of them were once farm workers who were just dumped here without any payout or compensation. They are left to start from scratch.” Though the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development is currently formalising the settlement of Aranos to facilitate the development of housing within identified areas, the governor feels the funds allocated are insufficient. Though she could not provide statistics of people in need of proper or modern houses, the governor confirmed that the demand is high. “I encourage people to join the Shack Dwellers Association. Though their contribution is minimal, they are assisting the government in solving this problem.” The local council already received N$300 000 from the ministry and 17 households in the region have already benefited from the loans in the Decentralised Build Together project. “The Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development is currently formalising the Aminuis Build Together Programme.” Though statistics are unavailable on the number of houses to be built, Hansen indicated that a great number of houses still have to be built should resources become available. Considering that many residents venture into small livestock farming and small and medium enterprises, very few people can afford building houses. Coupled with this problem is the rise in unemployment. The youth that comprise above 50 percent of the entire population in the Hardap region are jobless. Considering the fact that some youths might not be employed due to lack of education, Hansen lamented that there is a huge challenge of accessing bursaries. “I would want to know what criteria are used in awarding bursaries. My region is doing exceptionally well but the youth are forced to be idling around because they are not given bursaries to enter into universities and other institutions of higher learning.” In an effort to solve this problem, the governor feels the youth should endeavour to become Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs). Considering that most SMEs have problems accessing start-up capital, she appealed to financial institutions to come up with measures that would enable the “have-nots” to have something. “The requirements of the bank are of that nature that it is pushing you away, you are a ‘have not’, you are poor by nature.” This in the process has frustrated the youth and has brought about other social problems such as crime. “If the banks could consider that, then maybe the problem could be solved,” she ended.
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