As per UN Habitat, India needs to build an estimated 2 million new homes every year and improve about 40 million to provide safe, affordable and adequate housing to her people. Those that are informally employed and informally housed are unable to invest in building or improving homes because they have no proof of income, nor can they offer house titles as collateral. Such households resort to informal sources for loans and pay high interest rates, upto 60 percent annually. Poor health, longer work hours, overcrowding, and distraction from education are some dire consequences of unimproved housing.
SEWA Grin Rin Ltd has been one among a handful of organisations to take up the challenge of financial inclusion of such households. Embedded within the SEWA network, SGRL is leveraging the extensive membership network of over 2 million poor, self employed, informal women in 14 different states of India to fulfill a dream of increasing access to decent housing and a sound living environment. The focus has been on using formal channels to reaching the informal income and informal property tenure market segment through a combination of ground level finance and housing development with components of technical assistance, community networks and related services. The presentation will address the challenges and solutions that emerged during SGRL’s journey.
Shruti Savio Gonsalves has over 18 years of experienc in project finance, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and operations management. She has worked extensively with both government and non-government agencies in the field of rural development through institution building and promotion of livelihoods as a human resource; as well as in the areas of fund mobilization and financial product design. Shruti is at present Chief Executive Officer of Sewa Grih Rin Limited (SEWA's for-profit initiative with a pan-India focus to provide housing finance to poor women working in the informal sector), prior to which she was associated with SEWA Bharat as Project Director, Cash Transfer and Financial Literacy project in partnership with UNICEF India. She has previously worked with the Gujarat Livelihood Promotion Company; Friends Of Women's World Banking; and the Gujarat State Financial Corporation.