On 12 July, community organizers of UN-Habitat visited Samahang Urban ng Maralitang Mamamayan (SUMAMA, Local Association of Urban Poor Communities) – Home Owners Association Inc. (HOAI) in the municipality of Estancia to conduct the shelter project’s first community action plan (CAP) workshop, where community needs and issues were discussed with residents and HOAI officers. Approximately 35 members actively participated throughout the three-hour session, which included an announcement of the list of tentative project beneficiaries.
Among many community infrastructure issues raised, priority was given to drainage improvement. Several residents’ lots have a creek running right in the middle, making the lots unsuitable for building anything on them. HOAI already requested the local government to resolve this by infilling or realigning the existing creek.
Payment of household mortgage arrears was second on the list of priorities, emphasizing the need for clear and standard policy in determining whether or not families who are late in their mortgage payments are eligible for participation in the shelter project. Though it was made clear that the shelter project does not discriminate between paying and non-paying residents, the final list of project beneficiaries must be proposed by HOAI. It is up to the community to decide what conditions, if any, they want implemented for non-paying or delinquent households.
Out of 37 applicants for the shelter project, 21 were identified as eligible beneficiaries by UN-Habitat based on site technical assessments and discussions with the individuals. Before the list of tentative beneficiaries was made public, a UN-Habitat community organizer explained each criterion for beneficiary selection, which seems to have helped community members understand and accept the results of the selection.
The list of selected tentative beneficiaries, which HOAI finds to indeed include the neediest of households, will be publicly posted on both entrances to the community for three days, giving residents ample time not only to view the selection but also to apply, re-apply, and express objections.