The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday launched a GH¢30 million rental assistance scheme in Accra to increase access to safe, secure and affordable rental housing for lower-income households and youth across the country.
Dubbed the “National Rental Assistance Scheme” (NRAS), it would provide low-interest loans to eligible Ghanaians to enable them to pay rent advances, to be repaid every month to match the tenure of the rent.
To be eligible for the Scheme, the applicant must show proof of being a Ghanaian with a valid Ghana Card; be an adult of 18 years and above; Verifiable employment and earned income; must have a verifiable bank statement or mobile money statement and Rent payable must not exceed 30 per cent of the household income.
Launching it, Dr Bawumia said that the NRAS formed an integral part of a well-functioning market, which was a vital key to finding affordable housing options hence the government’s decision to introduce the policy to address the challenges associated with rent in the country.
He noted that the scheme would help tackle the ongoing trend where landlords demanded two years or more rent advances which deprived many people, especially the youth access to low-income housing.
Dr Bawumia said the scheme would also bridge the existing financial and information gap between tenants and landlords, enhance creditworthiness and reduce the need for large rent advance requests by landlords.
On the regional availability of the scheme, he said “the scheme will initially commence in six regions namely the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Bono East and Northern regions.”
The Vice President explained that regions were selected due to the available pressures for affordable housing, adding that the scheme would be expanded to the remaining parts of the country in due course.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye underscored the need for housing policies to be focused on promoting rental housing as it was a key component of a well-functioning housing market.
He said that the limited land supply, cost of capital, and rising cost of building materials, which contributed to the high cost of housing developments in the country would be ended by the NRAS as it would ensure that all persons benefitted from affordable housing.
Hence, Mr Asenso-Boakye emphasised that his ministry was ready to address the various challenges that confronted the housing sector in the country, using the NRAS as one of the vehicles.
The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah urged the implementing agencies of the NRAS to prioritise single mothers during the application process as they were financially disadvantaged.
“If you provide accommodation for a single mother who has two children, is much better than providing accommodation for others who have no children,” he added.
He also stressed that the houses that would be listed with the NRAS should be close to educational facilities in order not to disadvantage the children of the renters.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR