Building Home with Home Improvement Loans

Building Home with Home Improvement Loans

Geeta lives in a one room house in Savda Gevra, a resettlement colony in Delhi, with her husband Vinod and four children. Her family was resettled from a makeshift hut in 2006. Geeta completed her masonry training from the Karmika School for Construction Workers that MHT had opened in Savda Gevra.

Geeta’s family lived in a kutcha house, unable to afford the cost to rebuild it. When Geeta and her family moved to Savda, they used what little savings they had to construct a small kutcha house. They had a blue plastic tarp for roof. During the monsoon rains, Geeta and her four children would huddle together trying to stay dry. Without a roof or any proper walls, her childrenwere constantly falling sick. Like most houses in Savda, they had no water connection at house. Geeta would wake up early every morning to lug heavy buckets of water from an erratic water tank. With no sewage lines built, Geeta’s family was forced to defecate in the open.

They worried about the lack of privacy, potential night attackers and the dismal state of hygiene. After nearly five years, Geeta and her husband decided to take a Rs 10,000 loan from MHT to construct an underground water pump beneath their house. It changed their lives.Geeta no longer worries about water shortages or carries heavy buckets of water from the water tank. She feels better about the water quality and her children’s improved health. Not wanting debt on their record and eager to apply for a housing improvement loan, the family repaid their loan in less than a year. In May 2012, after becoming a member of SMBT, Geeta applied for a Rs 60,000 home improvement loan from MHT to build a proper roof, a terrace and stairs leading to the first floor.

MHT assessed Geeta’s repayment capacity by evaluating her household income, assets, savings history, property papers, liens on property and borrowing track record. In addition, engineers from Awaas SEWA provided a cost estimate for Geeta’s desired construction. Confident of their repayment capacity, MHT granted Geeta’s family a Rs 60,000 housing improvement loan in June 2012. Trained as masons from the Karmika School for Construction Workers that is run by MHT in Savda, Geeta and her husband were able to construct the house themselves in one month without hiring any external laborers. Awaas SEWA engineers also helped Geeta and Vinod in their construction process by assisting with the design and negotiating the cost of materials with vendors.

MHT disbursed the Rs 60,000 loan in phases according to the pace of construction, Awaas SEWA was responsible for monitoring the construction quality and pace and for signaling to MHT that the next loan installment should be disbursed.

Vinod works in a tube light factory and Geeta works as a mason. Their household income fluctuates between Rs 8,500 to Rs 10,000 a month. While a quarter of their income goes towards household expenses, they made sure to save around Rs 2,000 a month and pay back the loan.  An MHT nameplate that read “This house is funded through a home improvement loan given by the Mahila Housing Trust” hanged on the front of Geeta’s house until she repaid her loan.

Share This: