The Jakarta Post
Livable housing is essential for every human being as it serves as “a fortress against various risks, including health risks like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic”, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday during a commemoration of World Habitat Day.
The President expressed his appreciation to the United Nations for promoting the theme “Housing for All: A better Urban Future” for this year’s celebration, which falls annually on the first Monday of October.
The virtual event brought together stakeholders on sustainable urbanization and settlement development. Indonesia’s second largest city of Surabaya in East Java received the honor of hosting the Scroll of Honor Award ceremony on Monday.
In his speech, Jokowi said that Indonesia had put extra effort into providing livable houses for its poor citizens through various programs, including the so-called “one million houses program” launched in 2015 during his first term in office, as well as the recently introduced public housing savings program (Tapera).
The first housing program aimed to reduce the country’s housing backlog from 7.6 million in 2015 to 5.4 million in 2019, especially for lower income families. In the three years since its launch, the program built 3.45 million housing units.
Tapera, meanwhile, aims to provide funds for first-time homebuyers with monthly salaries equal to or lower than the local minimum wage.
“We continue to develop financing innovations to increase the poor’s access to housing,” the President said.
The Scroll of Honor Award Ceremony in Surabaya was attended by representatives from Mexico and Colombia, who received this year’s award. Other awardees, namely Uganda, Malaysia and Nepal, chose not to attend the event due to the pandemic.
The awards are given to acknowledge initiatives that have made outstanding contributions in the field of human settlements, the provision of housing and improvement of human settlements, among other categories.
Surabaya was chosen to host the event in acknowledgement of the accomplishments of its mayor, Tri Rismaharini, who was given the award during the 2018 WHD commemoration in Nairobi.
She was honored for implementing people-centered and inclusive city regeneration programs as well as developing initiatives that prioritize low-income residents.