ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Housing for Migrant Workers

A Case Study of Housing Sub-market in Ernakulum District, Kerala

With there being almost no housing policies for lower income migrant workers in the country, Kerala has attempted to address this problem by introducing a state-level housing policy called Apna Ghar. This article examines the policy’s effectiveness by exploring the “housing–work” relation in the existing housing sub-markets in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, in which the residential typologies inhabited by such worker groups are examined as to their economic affordability, service/amenities adequacy, workplace accessibility and ease of renting/shifting habitations.

[Figures 3–6 accompanying this article are available on the EPW website.]

This article is a product of an internship for partial fulfi lment of the Urban Fellow Programme at Indian Institute for Human for Human Settlements, Bengaluru. The authors
are thankful to Sudeshna Mitra, Gautam Bhan, and Ram B Bhagat for their guidance and precious comments. They are also indebted to Benoy Peter and Vishnu Narendran, and Ajith J Nair at the Center for Migration and Inclusive Development, Ernakulam, Kerala for assistance during fi eld visits.

Housing is a core aspect of a person’s life, facilitating their access to employment, sociability, community, political right, safety and security. Housing access at a particular location, especially for an in-migrant, depends on economic affordability, the intersection of identities such as caste, religion, gender, kinship, ethnicity, marital status and work profile (Kumar 2001; Mahadevia et al 2012; Sinha 2014; Naik 2015, 2019) and the migration pattern (Mahadevia et al 2014). Migrants engaged in low-paying informal sectors in Indian cities experience difficulties in finding affordable and adequate housing (Kumar 2001; Desai 2017), with the lack of documents (proof of domicile) and lower earnings, restricting their entry into the public housing, private apartment or high-end rental housing market (Desai et al 2014; Desai 2017).

Usually, lower income migrants (LIMs) live in informal settlements (slum, bustee, jhopadpatti, and juggi-zopadi) that offer affordable, flexible housing, proximity to livelihood and allows them to relocate with any change of worksites (Ooi and Phua 2007; UN-Habitat 2008; Naik 2015, 2019). The process of obtaining residence in an informal settlement is incremental (Bhan 2013), described as,

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Updated On : 21st Feb, 2022
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