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Investigations conducted by Today have revealed that many of the abandoned state housing projects were seriously in deplorable state. Majority of these projects, including the affordable housing projects, Today discovered, had been taken over by dangerous snakes, animals, ‘wee’ smokers, armed robbers, commercial sex workers and weeds.
Although the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing was tight-lipped with information on these state projects, our further investigations established that almost all the projects, which were initiated by former President John Agyekum Kufuor and Mills-Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) governments have now become a “white elephant.”
These projects, particularly the housing units, are found at Nungua, Saglemi, Borteyman and Kpone in the Greater Accra Region; Asokore-Mampong in the Ashanti Region; Koforidua in the Eastern Region; Wa in the Upper West Region, and; Tamale in the Northern Region.
But interestingly, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo through his works and housing minister recently during an inspection tour of some projects at Tema hinted that government was considering constructing new affordable housing units to take care of the county’s housing deficit.
Today further gathered that squatters had also taken full control of the abandoned housing units, where each of the blocks has a caretaker, who takes some form of rent fees from occupants.
Residents in these communities where the projects are sited told Today in an interview that ‘wee’ smokers and armed robbers had taken advantage of the vulnerability of the squatters, mainly women and children, and oftentimes harass them.
“Criminals constantly rape helpless women who live here,” they said.
At Kpone in the Kpone Katamanso District of the Greater Accra Region, for instance, Today found out that over 1,500 affordable housing units were wasting away.
The project, which commenced in 2006, still remained uncompleted.
Most of the buildings were seen taken over by weeds, with no activity, as reptiles moved freely in the apartments intended to house Ghanaians in need of comfortable place of abode.
The iron rods in the beams and pillars were exposed and fast deteriorating, whilst wooden panels and frames were rotting away
Some of the housing units, which looked almost completed, Today observed, had cracks on them.
Termites also were not left out as they were seen feasting on hundreds of door and window frames packed in some of the rooms.
The buildings are three-storey buildings, including two bedrooms, abandoned at lintel level, awaiting roofing, plastering, and other finishing touches.
The situation at Saglemi near Tsopoli in Ningo-Nii Prampram was even worse.
Today discovered that the Saglemi housing project, executed at US $180 million, had been left to rot.
Apart from security personnel monitoring movements around the Saglemi Estate through CCTV cameras and patrols, the place looked desolate as there no were people in the estate, built by Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, a Brazilian construction firm, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.
The 300-acre 1,502-housing unit facility comprises one-to-three-bedroom apartments and townhouses.
Under the Saglemi housing project, about 40 per cent of the houses are to be sold at very subsidised rates for low-income earners.
Ghana has a housing deficit of 1.7 million units and the government has been seeking avenues, including partnerships with the private sector, to address the challenge.
It has been a challenge completing such projects, particularly whenever there is a change in government.