Slum residents received their new homes designed with Community Design Agency and Snehalaya, Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil handed over keys to 33 women homeowners

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Ahmednagar/Pune, 8th March 2022: Residents of Sanjaynagar, a slum located in Ahmednagar, celebrated ‘Grihpravesh’ in their new homes today. Total 33 families from this neighborhood moved into safe, healthy, and attractive new homes that were delivered to them under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY-Urban) and was made possible by the collaborative effort of the Sanjay Nagar residents, Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation, Snehalaya, a local non-profit and Community Design Agency (CDA), an initiative of Curry Stone Design Collaborative. Construction on the remaining 265 homes is slated to begin in November 2022.


On the occasion of International Women’s Day, these 33 women house owners handed over the keys with the hands of Dr. Sujay Vikhe Patil, Member of Parliament. Managing Director of Community Design Agency Sandhya Naidu Janardhan, President of Snehalaya Sanjay Gugale, Founder of Snehalaya Girish Kulkarni, Pushpa Borude, Chairperson & Mina Chopda, Vice-Chairperson of Women and Child Development Committee, Corporator Anil Shinde, Suvarna Jadhav, Prashant Gaikwad, Vidya Khaire, Additional Commissioner Pradip Pathare, Branch Engineer Ganesh Gadalkar & many others present at the ceremony.


Dr. Sujay Vikhe appreciated the initiative taken by the Community Design Agency and Snehalaya. He mentioned that, under the dynamic leadership of Hon. Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, launched PMAY to provide affordable homes to economically weaker sections. “The project is idealized by the government, social organizations and citizens coming together in a public-private partnership. I must congratulate and thanks both organizations. We should come forward and put politics aside for the development of this section of the community. 298 families would get beautiful homes here. I would like to urge the Community Design Agency to take initiatives like this for other parts of Maharashtra.”


Further, he said it has taken care of the finer points. The central government will take the initiative to set up such projects with maximum funding. The Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana will not allow any family funds to remain pending. I will also provide funds for setting up the necessary facilities for the flats in this project under the MP’s fund. We should all come together and work for development. Because the blessings of the poor are more important than money and position, he added.


Sanjaynagar is a tight-knit and resilient community of 298 families, living in slum conditions spread over just two acres of municipal land. This slum rehabilitation pilot housing project started in early 2018. After nearly 4 years of intensive participatory planning, design and construction, the redevelopment of Sanjaynagar slum aims to establish a new benchmark for housing for communities living on the margins.


Made possible through PMAY- Urban along with funding support from Curry Stone Foundation and residents’ contribution towards construction, this project is a shift from the traditional housing models. The collaborative team’s mission is to deliver safe and healthy homes, jobs and training, community enrichment programs and further female homeownership, in order to co-create a vibrant and thriving community with the residents.


CDA believes in a different approach to addressing these inequities in the built environment. “The answer to housing inequality lies in building thousands of vibrant communities, not in mass-producing millions of individual units,” says Sandhya Naidu Janardhan. CDA’s direct experience is that informal communities might be poor in infrastructure yet are powerfully resilient with an abundance of social cohesion that residents rely on for survival. The families of Sanjaynagar have been an integral part of the process from day one, wherein tapping into their strong social bonds and supporting their ideas, helped realize their vision for a vibrant, safe and healthy place to live, work and play, she added.


Critical to CDA’s process to transform Sanjaynagar is having a strong social partner. “Building consensus through continuous dialogue amongst the 298 families required incredible will power, patience and versatility in our action plans” says Hanif Shaikh, Assistant Director, Snehalaya, further adding that “once the residents of the Sanjaynagar community get their rightful home with adequate light and ventilation, potable water and sanitation, will bring about a fundamental change in their lives.”


Another key component of this transformation is financial inclusion. Working with social lending partner Rang De, residents were able to apply for low-interest, non-predatory loans. This not only helps the community achieve first-time home ownership but provides a way to build credit history that can be used for future family plans of education and small business loans, mentioned Sandhya Naidu.


The redevelopment of Sanjaynagar is a public/private partnership, funded by the Indian Government, through its flagship Housing for All (PMAY- Urban) program, with support from Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation and the U.S. based Curry Stone Foundation along with contribution from the residents. Additional funding is currently being raised through philanthropic donations, she informed.