How affordable housing will transform Nakuru's Bondeni slum

The Sh2 billion affordable housing in Bondeni Nakuru

The Sh2 billion affordable housing will change the face of the informal settlement and its neighbourhood.

Photo credit: Eric Matara | Nation Media Group

For years, the Bondeni slum and surrounding neighbourhoods in Nakuru City have struggled with crime, substandard housing and frequent flooding due to inadequate drainage.

Dilapidated structures, overcrowding and limited access to basic amenities characterised the informal settlements of Lake View, Kaloleni, Ojuka, Shauri Yako, Flamingo, Kimathi and Pangani, perpetuating a cycle of hardship for the people of Nakuru East Constituency.

However, significant change is underway.

The government has invested Sh2 billion in the construction of nearly 1,000 affordable houses in Bondeni, breathing new life into the slums and, by extension, Nakuru City.

The project is being implemented through a public-private partnership with King Sapphire Developers, a subsidiary of Royal Group Industries.

The affordable housing project, which comprises 605 units of one, two and three bedroom apartments, has already transformed the area.

According to an advertisement in last week's dailies, prospective buyers were invited to purchase completed units with prices ranging from Sh3.1 million for two-bedroom units (64 sqm) to Sh4.2 million for three-bedroom units (85 sqm).

The development comprises 45 one-bedroom units, 180 two-bedroom units and 380 three-bedroom units.

Interested buyers are required to pay a 10 per cent deposit upfront to qualify, the Ministry of Lands, Public Works and Urban Development said in a notice.

Sh600 million ultra-modern market

The positive changes extend beyond housing, with the construction of a Sh600 million ultra-modern market and a matatu and bus terminus in the neighbourhood.

The Sh600 million ultra-modern market in Bondeni, Nakuru

The Sh600 million ultra-modern market in Bondeni, Nakuru which is currently under construction.

Photo credit: Eric Matara | Nation Media Group

Residents like David Onyango expect a significant reduction in crime as the improved living conditions and employment opportunities created by the projects are expected to have a positive impact on the community.

"For a long time, Bondeni has been home to criminal gangs and youth who use hard drugs, but this is set to change. The good houses, which will be next to the market being constructed, will change the attitude of the residents for the better. Idle youth and residents will now engage in productive activities,” he said.

Another resident, Mary Wanjiru, hopes that investors will flock to the area, which has lagged behind in development since the 1950s when most of the houses were built.

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika sees these projects as a boon that will bring dignity to low-income earners and transform slums into thriving estates.

The World Bank-backed Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) will continue to improve drainage, build roads and upgrade key infrastructure in informal settlements such as Kaptembwo, Kivumbini, Lake View, Kwa Rhonda, Flamingo, Kaloleni and Bondeni.

"The slums will also undergo a major facelift supported by my administration," Kihika said.

President William Ruto envisions the affordable housing projects transforming slums into better settlements.

Launching the housing project last week, he said: "With the affordable housing projects and others, we want the slums within Nakuru to become estates in the coming years.”

The president also acknowledged the urgent need to address the living conditions of over 6.5 million Kenyans living in slums across the country.
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