Urban Development

Urban development and housing provision

FMSD has more than 30 years’ experience in the promotion of social interest housing via self-construction mechanisms, home improvements and the provision of flexible home loans for low-income families in Colombia. In response to the country’s daunting housing deficit, the FMSD decided to support the Ministry of Housing in the implementation of an innovative public policy aimed at accelerating the growth of social interest housing, the so called Macroprojects of National Interest (MISN). This policy framework looks to address restrictions on housing growth such as the lack of coordination between the national and local governments for urban development, the under provision of networks for utilities by local governments, and limited margins for developers. As a result, the FMSD became the manager of 2 of the first and largest macroprojects in Colombia: Villas de San Pablo in Barranquilla and Ciudad del Bicentenario in Cartagena.  

The non-profit nature of the FMSD allows it to go beyond its developmental role, e.g. building of houses, to implement an innovative model that aims to build sustainable communities that are more than simply a collection of houses. A community of this sort arises from 3 elements: housing development, the creation of social infrastructure and social coaching. Community development and empowerment is carried out in tandem with staff from the local governments of Barranquilla and Cartagena.

Housing development implies both the construction of the houses but also the identification of prospective clients who are mostly from low-income families. The FMSD reaches out to them and submits the list of prospective clients to the Ministry of Housing, which is in charge of granting the national government’s subsidies. The FMSD also coordinates with the local governments to ensure the availability of their subsidies often reducing the amount of deposit that families need to put in. When required, the urban developmental unit of the FMSD (Sueños y Oportunidades) redirects interested families to the FMSD microfinance unit, Yo Prospero, to assess the possibility of granting them home microloans.

With local governments, the FMSD also coordinates the provision of basic infrastructure, such as roads and utilities networks. The speed of these developments relies on the rhythm in which basic and social infrastructure is provided. FMSD responsibilities include: a) land acquisition and appraisal management, b) outsourcing urban infrastructure directly linked to the construction of the houses (e.g. driveways), and the construction of the houses themselves, c) design and implementation of a strategy for promoting the houses and facilitating loans for down payments when needed, and d) coordinating the management of warranties on the construction of the houses.

The housing development unit of the FMSD (Sueños y Oportunidades) also established a material construction business to facilitate home improvements by families within the community that operates as a cooperative. It is also supporting the governments of Cartagena and Barranquilla in the design of schools, the planning of recreational facilities and the building of Internet centers. In 2012, in response to the Ministry of Housing call for proposals, the FMSD established a temporary union with PRODESA S.A to construct 832 free houses in VSP and 896 in CB.