1. To improve the living conditions or develop new housing for people in squatter settlements.

2. To create a sense of security through land/housing tenure for the poor.

3. To improve public utilities, facilities, and the surrounding environment.

4. To create a living environment that is secure, beautiful, respectful, and compatible
with the community’s way of life.

5. To create a holistic development plan that takes into account social and economic
factors as well as physical improvements.

6. To empowered poor communities so that they will be acknowledged by the society at large.

7. To create a community management system that has transparency and networking capabilities.

8. To create a database of squatter settlements and their development plans throughout the country.

9. To create a participatory development process in which the community organizations in
each province oversees their own housing, economic, and social development issues.

10. To create new roles for educational institutions and universities so that they could fully
participate in community development and research.

11. To create more flexible laws that are compatible with the development of communities.
(The communities should participate in the drafting of the new laws themselves)

12. To distill and synthesize new knowledge from each community so that it could be
widely available to other communities and the public.

Key Steps in Starting the Baan Mankong projects:

1. Identify the stakeholders and explain the program.

2. Organize network meetings which may include visits from people in other cities

3. Organize meetings in each urban poor community, involving municipal staff if possible

4. Establish a joint committee to oversee implementation. This includes urban poor community and network leaders and the municipality; also local academics and NGOs. This committee helps to build new relationships of cooperation to integrate urban poor housing into each city’s overall development and to create a mechanism for resolving future housing problems.

5. Joint committee holding a meeting with representatives from all urban poor communities

6. A survey organized to cover all communities with information collected about all households, housing security, land ownership, infrastructure problems, community organizations, savings activities and existing development initiatives. Doing the survey also provides opportunities for people to meet, learn about each-others’ problems and establish links.

7. From the survey, develop a plan for the whole city.

8. While the above process is going on, support community collective savings as these not only mobilize local resources but also strengthen local groups and build collective management skills.

9. Select Pilot projects on the basis of need, community’s willingness to try them out and learning.

10. Prepare development plans for pilots, start the construction and use implementation as learning center for other communities and actors.

11. Extend improvement processes to all other communities, including those living on the fringe of society such as the homeless and migrant workers

12. Integrate these upgrading initiatives into city-wide development. This includes coordinating with public and private land-owners to provide secure tenure or alternative land for resettlement, integrating community-constructed infrastructure into larger utility grids, and incorporating upgrading with other city development processes.

13. Build community networks around common land ownership, shared construction, cooperative enterprises, community welfare and collective maintenance of canals and create economic space for poor (for instance new markets) or economic opportunities wherever possible within upgrading. 

Budget & Funding Methods:

1. Infrastructure Subsidies 

– On-site Upgrading Subsidy: 25,000 baht (US$715) per family for for onsite-communities upgrades/repairs.

– Reconstruction Subsidy: 35,000 baht ($1000) per family for communities rebuilding their settlement on the land they now occupy or for communities relocating to different land and rebuilding there. This is the standard subsidy, but in special cases where the cost of filling land or infrastructure is very high, the per family subsidy can go up to 45,000 baht
(US $ 1,285)

– Additional Subsidies: Additional subsidies are available (as necessary, not aways) to help communities do heavy land filling if their land is low-lying, to install household sewage treatment systems, to landscape the newly upgraded settlement (20,000 Baht or $600 per community), to liven up the visual character of the new community (200,000 Baht or $6,000 per community), to construct temporary houses in case of fire or eviction (18,000 Baht or $500 per community), or to construct a community meeting house (18,000 Baht or $500 per community).

2. Land/Housing Loan

Soft loans are made available from CODI to families to purchase new land (in case of relocation) and to improve their houses or build new ones after upgrading or relocating, with interest rates subsidized by the program, so loans can go to the community cooperatives at 2% annual interest (the non-subsidized CODI housing loan rate is 4%). The ceiling for land and housing loans put together is 300,000 Baht ($9,000) per family, and in general, housing loans alone go up to a maximum of no more than 150,000 – 200,000 Baht ($6,000) per family. All loans are made collectively to the community cooperative, not to individual families. With both housing and land loans, the community cooperatives must have saved 10% of the amount they borrow from CODI and keep that 10% in their community saving account during the repayment period.

More recently, this loan subsidy has been handled a little differently. Now, communities can receive the loan interest rate subsidy in the form of one-time housing/land cash payment of 20,000 Baht ($600) per family, at the start of the upgrading project. The cooperatives then pay CODI’s standard non-subsidized interest rate of 4% on whatever land and housing loans they take. Most cooperatives add a 2-3% margin on top of this (to support their activities and create a fund for late repayments), so individual cooperative members pay 6-7% interest on their land and housing loans.

3. Administrative Subsidy

A grant equal to 5% of the total infrastructure subsidy will be made available under the upgrading program to whatever organization the community (or the community network) selects to assist and support their local upgrading process. This could be an NGO, another community network, a local university, a group of architects, or a local government agency.

4. Process Support Subsidy

This is the subsidy the program provides to support all the various activities that go with such a large national upgrading process, including exchange visits between cities, seminars at various scales, meetings, coordination costs, on-the-job training activities, support for the community network’s involvement in the upgrading process and salaries.

How is this different from the conventional approaches?

1. Urban poor community organizations and their networks are the key actors and control the funding and the management; they also undertake most of the building (rather than contractors) which makes funding go much further and brings in their own contributions

2. It is demand driven as it supports communities who are ready to implement improvement projects and allows a great variety of responses, tailored to each community’s needs, priorities and possibilities (for instance communities choose how to use the infrastructure subsidy)

3. It promotes more than physical upgrading; as communities design and manage their own physical improvements, this helps stimulate deeper but less tangible changes in social structures, managerial systems and confidence among poor communities. It also helps trigger acceptance of low-income communities in the city’s larger development process as legitimate parts of the city and as partners

4. It works to develop urban poor communities as an integrated part of city; people plan their upgrading within the bigger city development framework

5. Government agencies are no longer the planners, implementers and construction manager delivering for beneficiaries.

6. Secure tenure is negotiated locally in each case – and this could be done through a variety of means such as cooperative land purchase, long-term lease contracts, land swaps or user rights.