Did you know that Nigeria is currently faced with a debilitating housing crisis, with almost fifty percent of her population living in substandard housing? Yes, scary! The current housing deficit is said to be at seventeen million homes. A recent study by KPMG placed seventy seven percent of Nigerians within a ‘bottom mass market’ with an average income level of less than N40,000 a month and completely unserved by formal mortgage structures.
These include, lower level professionals, artisans and self-employed individuals belonging largely to the informal sector. The housing market continues to be characterised by a huge supply gap. But one organization has made it their mission to bridge this housing gap in the Federal Capital Territory and serve this sector passionately and sustainably. Our recent interview with Sam Odia, Chief Executive Officer of The Miller Fuller Foundation sheds more light onto how the foundation has made it possible for low income earners in the FCT to own homes.
Jumia House Nigeria (JHN): Can you tell us a little bit about Fuller Center Nigeria?
The Millard Fuller Foundation (MFF): The Millard Fuller Foundation (MFF) is the Nigerian affiliate of the Fuller Center for Housing Inc. based in Georgia, USA – an organization founded by Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity International.
JHN: What are the main goals and objectives of MFF Nigeria?
MFF: MFF seeks to provide a sustainable, affordable housing for all people in need by promoting collaborative and innovative partnerships with individuals & organizations.
JHN: Apart from soliciting donations, how else do you acquire funding for your projects?
MFF: The Millard Fuller Foundation also obtains loans & investment funds for its projects.
JHN: What are the price ranges of the properties you sell?
MFF: Our house prices range from N1.65 million to about N5 million
JHN: Why would you consider it affordable? Is it based on the fact that it is cheaper than everything else on the market or is it based on what the income of the average Nigerian?
MFF: While most Nigerians still cannot afford our houses, they remain amongst the most affordable on the Nigerian market.
JHN: What is the typical profile of the type of person that you sell to?
MFF: There is no typical profile for the people we target. However, our beneficiaries/clients’ incomes range from N50,000 to N150,000 per month. There are of course, exceptions. We also have a number of widows and single mothers as beneficiaries.
JHN: Do you have financing plans or options available?
MFF: We are currently working with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to provide off-taker (mortgage) financing over a 20-30 year maximum spread. This however sometimes takes time. We also offer those with some cash saved up already, an option to pay half of the house value to us directly and spread the rest over a year or two.
JHN: Sometimes affordable translates to not looking visually appealing or using subpar materials. How do you ensure that you are using materials that would last? How do you account for people’s different tastes?
MFF: We use qualitative materials in our construction, while we seek to provide very simple, but decent designs to meet the budget of the low-income.
JHN: As an organisation you have been doing great work globally and currently have about 16 international covenant partners. Can you tell us about any challenges you have faced in Nigeria so far?
MFF: The main challenges we have faced in Nigeria so far include accessing infrastructure for our sites – such as good roads etc. as well as finding readily available mortgage funding opportunities for our clients at a reasonable cost.
JHN: Your affordable housing estate is currently in Abuja. Do you have any plans of extending these projects to other parts of Nigeria? Specifically places with IDP camps and places affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
MFF: The Millard Fuller Foundation plans to eventually to be in every state of the Federation. We would be interested in working with IDP camps and with other vulnerable people.
More about The Miller Fuller Foundation
The Millard Fuller Foundation is the Nigerian affiliate of the Fuller Center for Housing Inc. based in Georgia, USA – a non-profit ecumenical Christian housing organization that promotes collaborative and innovative partnerships with individuals and organizations in an unrelenting quest to provide adequate shelter for all people in need of shelter worldwide. The Millard Fuller Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of religion, sex or creed and assists lower-income families secure simple, decent, affordable homes. For more information please visit http://fullercenter.org/nigeria/