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Housing For All in India

  • Housing Model : New Homes
  • Director : Vishnu Swaminathan
  • Program Launch : September 2008
  • Number of Partners :  Citizen Sector: 9 - Business Sector: 15
  • HFA - India Initiatives : 
  1. HVC Entrepreneurs
  2. Market Research
  3. Certifications
  4. HFA-[d]


  • 9 citizen sector organizations and 15 businesses have joined the HFA India initiative as partners
  • 2,800 new homes under construction
  • By 2014 an estimated 500,000 families will have been impacted
  • Affordable Housing will be creating a USD $270 billion market, generating employment opportunities both directly and indirectly by providing complimentary services for construction. Today, approximately 40% of India's workforce is directly employed in the construction business; this figure is likely to go up with the spurt in affordable housing activity.

Background & Objectives
In India, there is a need for an estimated twenty one million affordable homes - translating into a US$244 billion annual housing market opportunity. Currently, more than 66% of the Indian labor force is composed of informal sector workers and micro-entrepreneurs who earn an annual household income between US$ 2,000-4,000. Since the majority of Indian workers do not have access to regular income, financing or tax receipts, they are often excluded from conventional and affordable buying options that prevent them from owning a home of their dreams. In response, Housing for All (HFA) India is pioneering a new way to foster collaboration on a large scale between mortgage financers, developers, citizen sector and informal sector clients.
Core Activities
HFA India is currently enabling partnerships between key private sector groups and citizen sector organizations (CSOs) to provide market-based new home services at quality and affordable prices. Starting in Ahmedabad and working with citizen sector organizations (CSOs) SAATH and SEWA, Ashoka’s HFA team brokered the first agreement between a developer and a CSO in September 2008. Having seen market research collected by Ashoka’s HFA team and working closely with CSOs, developers saw real demand for  housing below USD$ 20,000 and the potential for turning a profit while serving low-income households. In Ahmedabad, developers sold 1,800 units in nine months to low-income customers through partnerships with CSOs.
However, compared to the demand for 24.7 million low-cost homes across India, the current 2,800 units under construction constitute a mere drop in the bucket. There is little experience among financial institutions, developers or CSOs with building affordable housing at market prices—this inexperience constitutes a major barrier for increasing the supply of housing. For this reason, Ashoka is sponsoring HFA Entrepreneurs in 15 cities across India over the next four years. In return for a small percentage of project revenue, these entrepreneurs will market the benefits of affordable housing, create partnerships with developers and CSOs, and work with banks to supply housing loans to informal sector workers. Additionally, Ashoka HFA will provide tools for market research, housing design, best practices, and connections to Ashoka Fellows to help these HFA Entrepreneurs better serve low-income customers. 
Over the next four years, Ashoka hopes to demonstrate both the solid profitability and positive social impact of new homes for low-income communities. With the development of key strategies for success and large-scale marketing initiatives across India, we hope to make Ashoka HFA obsolete as private sector organizations take over. We look forward to replication and innovation taking off in this market. This is the only way to truly address the demand for millions of new homes across India.
Ashoka’s main partners and their role in the Housing For All Hybrid Value Chain application
Hybrid Value Chain (HVC) is a new operating framework for transforming markets by leveraging the strengths of business and social actors. HVC spread across the economic spectrum and represent a systemic change in the way business and citizen sector interact.



Housing Related Products, Builders & Technical Assistance

  • Vintron Infrastructure & Project Pvt.Ltd
  • DBS Affordable Home Strategy Limited
  • Aarya Infrastructure


Aggregators & Complementary Services

  • Self Employed Women Organization
  • Shelter Associates
  • MannDeshi Foundation
  • Native Medicare Charitable Trust
  • Covenant Centre for Development


MicroHousing Finance Corporation Limited

  • Shubam Housing Development Finance
  • Micro Housing Finance Cooperation
  • MannDeshi Sahila Sahakari Bank
  • Muthoot Finance
  • Corporation Bank

Tulsi lives in a slum in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Her 144 sq ft house does not have any individual water connection or toilet. She and her husband sell vegetables on a push cart and make an estimated USD$150 per month. She has two children and the family also makes and sells kites during festive seasons. She can afford a monthly housing installment of USD$80 for a new house. Through the Ashoka DBS Umang project she has booked an apartment with 220 sq ft. Her loan is currently being processed and she cannot wait to move to the new apartment. Her dream will finally become true!

The living conditions of slum dwellers in Ahmedabad, India, have changed with new infrastructure projects, opportunities for employment and more social empowerment. Ultimately this has improved people's health, and reduced their expenditure on medicines. This is how a social determinants of health approach works in action.

Bijal Bhatt from Mahila Housing SEWA Trust