At the request of TCO (intermunicipality of the West Coast), INTA brought together an international team and organized a workshop on the policies aimed at the elimination of substandard housing located in mid-slopes, agricultural lands or natural areas or gullies .
The context: an intermunicipality programme with the aim to fight against substandard housing
With the SCOT 2012-2022 (Masterplan) and the PLH 2011-2016(Local Plan for Habitat), TCO reaffirms the "priority" given to the fight against substandard and unworthy housing.
At the County ("Département") level, a Departmental Pole for the Fight against the Habitat Unworthy (PDLHI) was established by the Prefect in June 17, 2011. The aim is to provide "a framework to support the policies against substandard and unworthy housing and drive together with local communities and partners the implementation of the operational systems."
Studies run on the five municipalities of the West Coast led to the proposal of an experimental approach aimed at identifying the causes of these unhealthy conditions and propose solutions adapted to the different situations.
The objectives are:
- Elimination of all forms of insalubrity
- The establishment of technical, financial and regulatory tools
- The implementation of a multiannual (over 6 years) program of intervention and renewable after 6 year.
Diagnoses made in the PCRI studies have highlighted:
- The presence of approximately 9,000 substandard houses spread in the West Coast Territory, nearly half registered only in the territory of the municipality of Saint-Paul.
- The habit of self-construction and self-improvement housing by the inhabitants themselves mostly on portion of land ill-suited to this purpose (areas of natural risk, on natural or agricultural areas).
- The amplification of the problem of "slumlords". In the past 3 years, in the territory of TCO, 21 proceedings were instituted against these unscrupulous landlords who exploit the social vulnerability of families. This represents the 35% of procedures carried out on the whole department in the same period.
- In addition, the land status of many of these dwellings, ownership, occupation, does not allow the regularization of these situations. This seemed to have diminished in the 90s but it became again a serious matter in the last decade.
Several reasons: dwindling of social housing programmes aiming at facilitate housing accessibility to a greater number of requests during the 2000s, decrease of residential land and increase of land prices. All this resulting in uncritical acceptance of the phenomenon by the municipalities and drop down of major new public management operations, urbanization constrained by urban planning documents sometimes inadequate or obsolete with urban sprawl in natural and agricultural areas.
This statement clearly shows the limits of the current system and the inadequate local and national means to pragmatically face the situations of the West Coast territory.
Large slums having virtually disappeared by the classic RHI operations, there are many other cases that cannot be solved through this financial instrument, especially the substandard houses on the mid-slopes and on top-hills. The number of housing on average, bad and very bad state and the worsening of spontaneous or informal settlements make it a huge challenge for the West Coast.