What you need to know:
- Dilapidated houses and overcrowding have been the hallmarks of the informal settlements in Nakuru East constituency.
- But this is about to change after the national government invested Sh2 billion in building 605 affordable houses in the two slum areas.
For years, the Bondeni and Kivumbini slums in Nakuru town have been synonymous with criminal gangs, poor housing and flooding.
Dilapidated houses and overcrowding have been the hallmarks of the informal settlements in Nakuru East constituency.
Most of the houses here and in the surrounding informal settlement areas of Lake View, Kaloleni, Ojuka, Shauri Yako, Flamingo, Kimathi and Pangani were built more than seven decades ago, mostly with asbestos roofing.
But this is about to change after the national government invested Sh2 billion in building 605 affordable houses in the two slum areas.
“The project is a godsend, as most low and middle-income earners from the slums will now afford to own a house. This will give dignity to locals mainly from the informal settlement areas,” Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui told Nation.Africa.
The two areas will also undergo a facelift in a grand plan by Nakuru County to upgrade informal settlements as it attains city status.
“I am optimistic that such projects will help rid the county of informal settlements once complete. This is in line with President Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda of affordable housing,” he said.
“As we await a charter for city status, we aim to partner with development partners and ensure slums are upgraded.”
The housing units, whose construction will be completed in 30 months, will consist of 45 one-bedrooms, 180 two-bedrooms and 380 three-bedrooms.
The project by the State Department of Housing and Urban Development, now underway, is being undertaken by Kings Developers.
A Sh600 million ultramodern market and a matatu-and-bus terminus are also being built in the neighbourhood.
Vitalis Onyango, a resident of Bondeni, says the affordable housing project will play a major role in reducing crime.
Use hard drugs
“For a long period, Bondeni has been synonymous with crime, home to criminal gangs and youth who use hard drugs, but this is set to change,” he said.
“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 job opportunities have also been created in construction as young people who initially were idle were now busy.
Another resident, James Ombati, hopes that investors will flock to the area, which has been lagging in development since the 1950s when most of the houses were built.
“Residents expect the housing project and the ultramodern market to open up the areas for development. More investors will flock Bondeni, Kivumbini and its neighbourhood for business,” he said.
State Department of Housing and Urban Development principal secretary Charles Hinga says the project being undertaken on 7.5 acres will spruce up the face of Nakuru town and provide residents with affordable housing.
“This is the first affordable housing project outside Nairobi where success has been registered. The project will be completed in the next 30 months and sold to residents at a subsidised cost,” said Hinga.
Governor Kinyanjui said his administration, jointly with development partners, including the World Bank, have also kicked off plans to upgrade the town’s informal settlements.
“We laud the World Bank for the programme, which will have a major transformative impact on informal settlements. The initiative, besides slum upgrading, will also target improvement of drainage infrastructure, waste management, improvement of roads in the slums and installation of lights,” he said.
Informal settlements targeted include Kaptembwo, the biggest in Nakuru town, with a population of more than 100,000 residents.
Others are Kivumbini, Lake View, Kwa Rhonda, Kaptembwo, Flamingo, Kaloleni and Bondeni.