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

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

Housing for Migrant Workers

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.

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,

begins with gaining access to rental housing in an established low income settlement or squatting on a piece of land, mainly public land, then negotiate collectively to get name registered in the urban voting list through getting an urban patron, and then on a gradual and patient march up the ladder to gain full citizenship through possessing a few of the other documents. (Mahadevia et al 2012: 145)

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Updated On : 21st Feb, 2022
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