Substandard housing is the type of housing that does not meet the standards for living by people. These standards are usually set by governments and deal with how safe the dwelling is for people to live. For example, there may not be appropriate heating, plumbing, electricity or proper sanitation. Often substandard housing is deteriorated housing that has not been repaired or temporary housing that does not meet building codes. For example, many rental or substandard housing developments in developed countries were built between the 1930s and the 1940s, and are in need of replacement or large scale renovations. A fair amount of rental properties are becoming more deteriorated with having various tenants and are worn by age and weather without proper care since tenants do not show the pride of ownership.
Substandard housing is a serious issue. It can be a place where diseases spread quickly because of lack of sanitation and garbage disposal problems. Here is where standing, polluted water is a good breading place for mosquitoes and other insects that transmit disease. Also, lack of clean water for washing and drinking can cause diseases. Other health risks can include mold from moisture and not enough heating, resulting in diseases. Also, people live in close proximity so the spread of diseases is easier. In addition, conditions, lead poisoning can be caused by the peeling of lead paint, which younger children could swallow or inhale as it becomes dusty. Many families living in substandard housing are constantly moving because of conditions or parents requirements, or are unwell because of conditions of the home, causing them to miss school and give a lower performance at school.
United Nations estimates that over a billion people, or one-third of world’s population, reside in the urban slums! In slums, children do not have place to play or socialize, no playgrounds of parks. These slums are often at the outskirts of big cities and may are very close to industry. This can expose residents to pollutants from air, soil and water that are released by the factories. Crime rates are also high in this area, since there is very little light at night and police protection.
Unfortunately, the number of people living in the slums or substandard housing is increasing. One of the reasons is lack of economic opportunities in rural areas that forces people to move to the cities. They move to the cities that are already dealing with issues of overcrowding, infrastructure and high cost of living. This forces them to seek shelter in slums. United Nation Habitat in 2006 found that 90% of slum residents are in the developing countries with struggling economies. As the world populations growing, more housing is needed. Unfortunately, affordable housing in the city is scarce. With more people, and less land to go around the situation is not likely to change.The issue of substandard housing is not limited just to developing world. It exists in developed countries as well. HUD (Housing and Urban Development) agency in USA has found that in the USA people pay on average more than 50% of their income for housing. Also, they found that in the USA a person on minimum wage salary cannot even afford a one bedroom apartment even when they work full time!
Improving the substandard housing around the world is a priority for keeping world healthy and safe and eradicating poverty. United Nations has joined this fight when they came up with the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. According to their Sustainability goal, improving the life of resident of substandard housing is a priority. In addition, improvement of substandard housing situation could help improve health of residents, especially women and children. Finally, for many people owning a home is a way out of poverty. Owning a house means that residents can pass on the wealth to their children. Also, sale of a house several years later may bring income to start a business, purchase needed items or provide educational opportunities