In recent months, Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission has been an area of political debate. This state housing programme began as a nationwide project in 2011 and its goal is to build 3 million homes by 2019 at affordable costs for families most in need. The project itself, highlights the quest to build socialist communities and create access to housing for millions of families across the country. The human right to adequate housing comes together with struggles for land, the right to access and live in the city and directly challenges housing as a capitalist commodity, as well as decades of woefully insufficient government housing policies which have seen sprawling shantytowns emerge on the borders of the country’s cities thoughout the latter part of the 20th Century.
The current opposition led National Assembly introduced the Housing Privatization Law, under the leadership of legislator Julio Borges, which would establish a legal framework to privatize housing across the country – effectively selling the homes off to their residents. The Bolivarian branches of the government and social movements have declared this the “privatization of Venezuela’s Housing Mission”. Recently, the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional, invoking the enshrined right to public housing in the constitution and a recent Hinterlaces poll showed that 61% of Venezuelans do not support the housing being sold off to the private market.
Similarly, several grassroots movements co-exist alongside the Housing Mission looking to carry out a similar purpose, such as the “Pioneers Movement”. This movement promotes collective ownership of homes and the community comes together to build their own houses. In the case of Venezuela’s housing mission, the state has hired private national and foreign companies to reach their ambitious goal of 3 million homes by 2019.
Undoubtedly, one of the most emblematic projects is Tiuna City. VA visited this community which will house more than 20,000 families in apartments built by Russian, Chinese and Belarusian companies. To date, 10,000 homes have been built.