The world’s urban population in 1999 was 2.6 billion (45% of total world population) and has increased to 3.9 billion (54%) in 2014, this increase has caused high demand for housing, especially to low and middle income household in urban area cross the world.(UN-Habitat, 2016). According to Mulliner and Maliene, (2011) argues that demand for housing in Kenya has outstrip supply, about 60% of urban population live in substandard housing. Housing shortage has been accelerated by rapid urbanization, high rate of poverty, unemployment, high levels of homelessness, and high price of housing relative to the incomes of households. Therefore it is clear that housing affordability is major challenge in Kenya.
Affordability of housing has attracted number of researchers, and policy makers cross the world (Abelson 2009; Gan and Hill 2009; Ndubueze 2007; Stone 2005). However, Affordability is subjective in nature, what one consider affordable might not be affordable to another. According to CPD – HUD, (2017) define housing affordability as household that spend more than 30% of their income, that house is considered unaffordable. According to Noppen (2014) defines housing affordability as ability of household meeting housing needs and non-housing costs. According to Sukumar ,(2010) argue that as result of economic liberalization both public and private sector failure to provide affordable housing cross the income groups ,Housing co-operative as alternative self-help approach which applies principles and values of co-operative in delivery of affordable housing across the world.
Housing cooperatives has been historically recognized as mechanism of providing affordable housing particularly to low and middle income household through different housing tenure arrangement and models across the world. According to Patel et al., (2002); Mukhija, (2004). Argues that housing cooperatives have been useful in building the community and organizing the slum-dwellers into small groups to enable them to access the credit and build self-help housing. In several cities across the world, (Mumbai and New York City), public housing has been taken by housing cooperatives and ownership has been transferred to residents through tenant cooperatives ((Leavitt and Saegert, 1990; Dua, 1991). According to Moreau and Pittini (2012), argues that in Estonia, housing co-operatives manage 60% of the country’s housing stock, while in Poland housing co-operatives own 20%, and in Sweden and Norway about 18% of the total housing stock and Switzerland 5% of the stock.
Housing co-operative in Kenya is a model that respond to diversity of life aspirations and changing inter-generational dynamic of globalization and re-localization. According to SEHC, (2015) argues that co-operative housing approach create unique sense of security of tenure whereby ownership and management is embedded in the purpose, philosophy and structure of housing co-operative. According to Patel et al., (2002); Mukhija, (2004) argues that the primary advantage of the housing cooperative is mobilizing the members’ resources to enable them to qualify for loan at lower cost. Also as collective organizations, housing cooperatives offer several additional advantages including promote community participation aiming at empowering the members in decision making. Further, cooperatives are used to organize slum-dwellers into collectives to obtain group credit and to build self-help housing.
However, according to Alassane (2014); Mutisya (2015); Kinuthia (2017) argues that housing co-operative has been facing various challenges endemic to the Kenyan setting including management capacity, governance and organization issues, rapid urbanization, legal and regulatory framework, limited access to finance and high cost of finance and lack of effective partnerships with stakeholders. A critical analysis of the institutional conditions in which housing cooperatives has evolved and historical development of housing co-operative is therefore crucial in addressing these problems.