Ahmad Sururi, Dr., Magister Sains
Lecturer of Serang Raya University
Sururi, A. (2023). Social Workers in the Social Housing Assistance Sector: Building the Ideal Housing Policy Principles. International Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 20(2), 112-143. https://doi.org/10.55521/10-020-207
This text may be freely shared among individuals, but it may not be republished in any medium without express written consent from the authors and advance notification of IFSW.
Indonesia has established a Self-Help Stimulant Assistance (SHSA) to help develop affordable housing in Low-Income Communities (LIC). SHSA funding is provided to selected LIC to independently build new housing and renovate uninhabitable residential houses to bring them up to habitable standards and social workers have been key to the implementation of this program. This study uses two theoretical frameworks for effective housing policy (Schill & Wachter 2001, Hannigan & Wagner 2003) to explore the extent to which the SHSA was perceived by social workers to exhibit these qualities. To explore the role of social workers in the implementation of the SHSA, 25 qualitative interviews were completed with social workers working in LICs in Indonesia. Six themes from the theoretical framework were found to be important to the effective implementation of SHSA, including: 1. links to other social policies; 2. using production subsidies to overcome obstacles, 3. not adopting a one-size-fits-all model, 4. provides permanent affordability housing, 5. is comfortable, and 6. accessible and flexible service provision. The findings also highlight the importance of providing social workers in the housing assistance sector with greater authority, especially with strategic decision-making to overcome various problems and obstacles to implementing the SHSA. These obstacles included a lack of supply of building materials for housing construction, the high cost of production, the lack of commitment and awareness of the recipients of the program of appropriate building materials and practices and a lack of attention to the development schedule. Overall, these findings point to greater opportunities and bargaining positions for social workers in the social housing assistance sector through granting authority to social workers in the social housing assistance sector, especially in making decisions as strengthening the capacity and potential of individuals and groups of social workers.
In addition, a more systematic mechanism and approach for social workers to adhere to a set of ideal housing policy principles including target achievement, scale, and focus on low-income people’s efficiency in obtaining home ownership, access to clean water, sanitation, and electricity, and increase in family economic income…(provide a broader perspective here as to why the findings are important).
Keywords: Social work value, Housing assistance, housing policy, affordability, Indonesia
In many countries, social housing assistance policy for LIC has increased in recent decades (Colburn, 2019; Hungerford, 1996; Olsen et al., 2005). Two factors related to this increase are a lack of housing affordability and threats to the financing of new housing (Average, 2019; Beer et al., 2011; Monkkonen, 2018; Ng & Neo, 2019; Reamer, 1989; Zou, 2014). This phenomenon suggests that social housing is an important aspect of past and future housing policies and is an important dimension of social welfare policy and the provision of affordable housing (Clapham et al., 1990; OECD, 2020).
Housing is often associated with improved health, especially among disadvantaged families and children (Fenelon et al., 2018) Fenelon et al., 2017), safety (Kim et al., 2017), labour force participation (Jacob & Ludwig, 2012) and disaster development (Hamideh et al., 2021; Hickson & Lehmann, 2014; Sukhwani et al., 2021). Ideally, housing assistance should provide and develop independence i.e. ‘do with’ and not ‘do for’, so that the assistance provided can encourage and support independence (Housing Support Grand, 2020).
This study discusses social workers in the housing assistance sector in building policy principles and housing service support. There are two important reasons why housing assistance social workers are required to be able to apply the principles and practices of housing service support policies, namely first, the value base of the social work profession, its principles and objectives, and the concept of social work practices as stated in several social work codes of ethics (AASW, 2020; Bowles & Curry, 2006; IASSW, 2015; NAPSWI, 2015; Pawar, 2019; Pawar & Thomas, 2017) which demands and requires social workers to carefully and diligently engage in policy practices, solve social problems professionally according to applicable rules, and not as controllers of mechanisms, but to promote social change and development; secondly, the nature of the needs and scope of the problem and the level of density communities in the Asia Pacific region need a policy practice approach (Pawar, 2019).
In a local context (Directorate of Housing Supply, 2019; Government Regulation Number 1 Of, 2009) explains that social workers are required to have competence and concern in carrying out service tasks and handling social problems, community counselling, community debriefing, and empowerment, encouraging social change and strengthening groups. Social developments such as housing assistance for LIC have been promoted as an important part of social work so that social workers must have awareness and be able to work in areas such as economics, politics, and technology of social life while bringing useful knowledge, skills and values (Hugman, 2016), including also the principles of housing policy aimed at ensuring the availability of safe, maintained and affordable housing consistently despite changes in housing standards (Reiss, 2010).
Schill & Wachter (2001) put forward seven principles for housing policy. Housing policy should: 1. link to other social policies; 2. focused on correcting past mistakes and be future orientation; 3. work with the market; 4. include housing vouchers as the main source of incremental housing assistance in the future; 5. use production subsidies to overcome supply barriers; 6. not adopt a one-size-fits-all model; and 7: Regional Solutions Are Necessary and Require That States and Localities Become Responsible Partners In Removing Regulatory Barriers. Meanwhile, from the perspective of housing service support Hannigan & Wagner (2003) put forward four principles, namely housing must be: 1. permanent and affordable; 2. safe and comfortable; 3. service support is accessible and flexible, and targets housing stability; and 4. empowers independence through the involvement of the community or tenants in the management of housing projects, providing employment opportunities and encouraging the formation of tenant councils and advisory groups.
Of the eleven principles of housing policy support that have been outlined, several principles are relevant to the theme and problem of this study.
Of the eleven principles of housing policy support that have been described according to Schil & Wachter (2001) and Hannigan & Wagner (2003), this study found several principles that are relevant to the themes and research issues that are being carried out so that they can contribute to the practice of social workers and housing social assistance policies.
On the other hand, building the principles of housing service policy support is very important as a positive response to the future direction of housing policy (Schill & Wachter, 2001) and as a basis for social workers in supporting the welfare of individuals, families, and communities (Hugman, 2016).
The purpose of this study is to highlight the role of social workers in the social housing assistance sector in establishing the principles of ideal housing policy that include housing policy that: 1. is linked to other social policies; 2. Uses production subsidies to overcome obstacles, 3. Does not adopt a one-size-fits-all model, 4. provides permanent affordability housing, that is 5. safety and comfort, and 6. Service support is accessible and flexible.
Self-Help Housing Stimulant Assistance Program (SHSA)
Public housing such as housing has a specific position compared to other welfare sectors such as education, health, and security. This is because housing is often assumed to be a forgotten pillar of the welfare state even though on the other hand it is an important component of community welfare (Schwartz, 2012) and although it has been provided directly by the government, the involvement of other housing policy stakeholders is still quite important such as through capital intensity and local government support (Kemeny, 2001).
Indonesia has established the Self-Help Stimulant Assistance (SHSA) program or better known as renovation houses surgical houses as one of the policies to meet housing needs. Through the program, LIC are selected and given funds to independently build new residential homes and renovate uninhabitable residential houses. The SHSA program or surgical house has been implemented since 2006 but in 2011, the program experienced various obstacles such as limited housing locations and budgets. Since 2012 this program has been intensively implemented by the Indonesian government and in the last six years (2015-2021) it has been able to build hundreds of thousands of uninhabitable houses as many as 229,156 units consisting of the construction of 654 special housing units and support for handling 228,502 units of self-help houses.
The SHSA program requires synergy with other programs such as access to electricity, provision of environmental facilities in housing such as clean water and sanitation, and the legality of land ownership to ensure the success of the SHSA program. In its implementation, the role of the central government is still very dominant, especially in making decisions on budget allocation and housing supervision functions in the regions (Norris, 2012). This is by the conceptual definition of SHSA which is the Government’s assistance for low-income people to encourage and increase empowerment in improving the quality of houses and the construction of new houses along with infrastructure, facilities, and public utilities.
SHSA is a program that has advantages and characteristics by placing LIC as the main actor of the program, there is no charge levy, is oriented towards the construction of houses to be livable, on target, on time, on benefits, accountable, not past the fiscal year, mutual aid and sustainability (Directorate of Swadaya Housing, 2019). In its implementation, social workers together with the community consult through a forum called a community meeting to form a Beneficiary Group (BG) whose members come from the local community and have the duty and responsibility to identify and verify LIC who meet the requirements to receive assistance, submit proposals, take advantage of the assistance by the agreed plan, be responsible for the use of assistance and prepare an accountability report.
The types of SHSA activities are divided into two, namely: 1) Improving the quality of independent houses which is an activity to improve uninhabitable houses into habitable ones. Subsidy programs are available to help individuals or communities in the planning stages for up to Rp.17,500,00 (USD 1,170.29). An additional Rp.15,000,000,- million can help with the purchase of building materials and Rp.2,500,000,- million for the wages of artisans; 2) New Construction of Self-Help Houses which is a new livable house construction activity held on the initiative and efforts of the community, both individuals and groups with total housing assistance of Rp.35,000,000,- with details of Rp.30,000,000,- million for the purchase of building materials and Rp.5000,000.- for artisan wages. The SHSA program is the flagship program of the Government of Indonesia in meeting the needs of housing services inseparable from the background of the large number of home ownership built independently by the community in 2016 of 69.59 percent (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2016) and increasing in 2019 which reached 79.67 percent (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2019). Then based on the performance achievements in 2021, the number of fulfilling the needs of livable houses through the facilitation of independent houses for LIC from the target of 192,430 units or only realized 127,091 units or experienced a deviation of 65,339 units with a performance achievement of 66.05% even though based on the strategic plan, the achievement of housing assistance has exceeded the target from 81,000 units to 127,091 or a performance achievement of 159.90% (Directorate General of Housing, 2021).
Based on Figure 1 above, the overall implementation of SHSA in 2021 was not achieved, due to several causal factors, namely the suspension of the SHSA utilization plan of 64,500 units because it was focused on handling extreme poverty, stunting, and handling integrated slums, then the quality and validity of the data of prospective beneficiaries have not been valid and has not been fully inputted in the electronic application of Uninhabitable Houses and often occurs replacement of proposals and the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
On the other hand, the implementation of restrictions on community activities (PPKM), due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and many regions have imposed restrictions on activities that hinder verification activities, community assistance, and the implementation of physical activities, and other activities that require face-to-face activities, and some beneficiaries some have difficulty empowering due to economic difficulties due to being dismissed at work.
The categories of uninhabitable houses that are the targets of SHSA activities are as follows: 1) Floor materials in the form of land or class IV wood; 2) Wall material in the form of bamboo/wood/rattan or class IV wood; 3) No/lack of ventilation and lighting; 4) Roofing material in the form of leaves or tiles that are already fragile; 5)Severely damaged and or moderately damaged and insufficient floor area of the building. In addition, there are several requirements such as 1) the adequacy of a minimum residential area of 7.2 m2 per capita (sufficient living space); 2) having access to adequate drinking water; 3) having access to proper sanitation; 4) building resilience (durable housing).
One of its advantages, when compared to other housing assistance programs in Indonesia, is to position LIC as a beneficiary group (BG) or independent main actors who are actively involved in socialization activities, identification of potential beneficiaries, rebuking residents, implementing development and maintaining the timeliness of home improvement construction.
On the other hand, in addition to LIC, there are SHSA program actors who also have an important role, namely field facilitators or commonly called social workers who act as the spearhead and front line of the SHSA program as well as being responsible for supervising and assisting, the driving force of community assistance and connecting the recipient community of the program, namely LIC, with the vision and mission of the SHSA program. The position of the housing social worker as described by Rollins (2019) is referred to as a relationship-building agent who is expected to be able to overcome various problems of social housing assistance through advocacy (Mosley, 2010) being a voluntary agent and consultant (Choo, 1984) professional transdisciplinary (Evans, 2017), as a welfare officer (Marshall, 1975) so that it can be said that social workers are the ones who know the most and have awareness of the lack of access to affordable housing and therefore actively advocate for LIC to beguiled by housing assistance (Cordoba, 2015).
The dynamics of social workers in dealing with the problem of housing assistance have a long and diverse tradition (Ng & Neo, 2019), such as the basic needs of food, clothing, and health in supporting housing social assistance programs (Quintiliani et al., 2021; Reamer, 1989; Rymill & Hart, 1992), social housing for the homeless (Cordoba, 2015; Early, 2004; Sahlin, 1995; Thompson et al., 2006; Zufferey, 2008), refugee problems (Aigner, 2019), housing ownership and social capital (Donoghue & Tranter, 2012).
This study used qualitative interviews that explored the experiences of social workers in applying the principles of ideal housing policy and the experience of community groups that receive housing assistance program facilities, namely LIC. How it is stated that qualitative study has the objective of representing or interpreting complex social processes and experiences through having an interpretive perspective and using “qualitative” methods such as participant observations or interviews (Bigby, 2015).
The qualitative approach in this study aims to explore the experience of social workers in applying the principles and policies of housing support services during the housing assistance program, which is three months according to the schedule for house construction and renovation. To achieve this goal, the methodology is informed by hermetic phenomenology, to generate a deep understanding of the life experiences (Manen, 1997) of social workers and beneficiaries of housing assistance programs. This approach is very relevant to the phenomenon studied, namely the experience of social workers in the housing assistance sector. This requires interpretive practice centred on a joint construction relationship between researcher and participant. Each brings its socio-cultural context to explore the phenomena of each of the subjects (Conroy, 2003; Pascal et al., 2011).
There are six factors identified as ideal housing policy principles, namely that housing policy should be linked to other social policies, the use of production subsidies in overcoming obstacles, housing policy cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all model, provisions, and affordability, security, and comfort, support services are accessible and flexible (Hannigan & Wagner, 2003; Schill & Wachter, 2001).
The total number of participants in the study was 25 people consisting of fifteen social workers and ten LIC members who received the SHSA program. All participants have completed all interviews. Seventeen of them were men and eight were women. In terms of ethnicity, most of them are aged (n = 21) and all of them are indigenous Indonesians. Most are between 30 and 55 years old (n = 19), with the youngest being 25 years old and the oldest 59 years old. Most of the participants lived in large rural centers (n = 14) or smaller (n = 6), and 5 were in urban areas. The type of location was consistent throughout the study period. All of them work in the private sector or non-governmental with diverse professions, namely farmers, labourers, traders, and private employees.
The site selection was carried out based on the assumption of typical cases (Yin, 2014), namely the type of case from the research location that received the benefits of the housing assistance program so that based on this the location of this study was in Banten Province which is the recipient province of the SHSA program and seven villages were selected with details of two villages in Serang City, namely Pancur Village and Unyur Village, two villages in Pandeglang Regency, namely Cadasari Village and Tanagara Village, three villages in Serang Regency, namely Teras Village, Walikukun Village, and Carenang Village.
Data collection involved a series of semi-structured in-depth interviews with 25 participants, over three months during which the housing assistance program was implemented. The interview took place during the period from June to August 2021. Interviews were conducted in a semi-structured manner with open-ended questions lasting about 45 minutes to an hour in each participant’s office and home to create a comfortable in answering questions. When the interview took place, the researcher recorded using a tape recorder and recorded each participant’s answer to complete the recording data.
The themes of the interview questions focused on the issues stated in the research questions referring to the six principles of supportive housing policy i.e. housing policy should be linked to other social policies, the use of production subsidies in overcoming barriers, housing policy cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all model, provision and affordability, security and comfort, service support accessible and flexible (Hannigan & Wagner, 2003; Schill & Wachter, 2001).
Data collection through interviews is used because it is a fairly ideal method of understanding and exploring participants’ experiences, attitudes, meanings, and actions (Tierney, 1991). Since this study is informed by a social constructionist paradigm in which social reality is perceived as a social construct, then experiences, activities, and phenomena by each respondent are assumed to be sources of social reality and can only be explored in depth using interviews (Merriam, 2009).
Each transcript of the interview results is analyzed thematically, the text data is read thoroughly, then given a code, theme, and written. The analysis is an adaptation of the stages that include data recognition, coding, composing themes, reflecting on themes, perfecting themes, and writing (Braun & Clarke, 2006). The results of the thematic analysis aim to be consistent with the methodology in identifying six themes of supporting housing policy principles. In this study, ethical approval was obtained from the university. The use of mentions of social worker informants A to O (15 people) and community informants P to Y (10 people) in the research results section aims to distinguish between social worker informants and community informants. In addition, the use of the alphabet aims to protect anonymity and maintain the confidentiality of informants.
Interesting and consistent data have been obtained from the experience of social workers and interactions as a source of information interviews research by the social housing assistance sector in building ideal housing policy principles. Of the various themes most frequently discussed in all interviews is the focus on the knowledge and experience of social workers and LIC thus providing a variety of important implications for the research.
The findings show that housing policy is related to other social policies as a collective intervention and participation of women to increase income, on the other hand, social housing assistance programs face obstacles to the lack of supply of building materials for housing construction or renovation, the high cost of production that exceeds the amount of the aid budget, the lack of commitment and less awareness from the recipients of the program due to the improper use of building materials and the lack of attention to the development schedule.
The housing assistance program carried out has placed LIC as the main actor or actor and the social worker in the housing assistance program has taken advantage of the views and values that apply in the community so that the housing assistance program can be accepted. LIC access in meeting basic needs has been met although it is recognized that not all LIC needs get easy access such as the long distance between the house and the work site, this is because the location of the new house occupied by the LIC is located in the suburbs so that the LIC has to travel to the work site for a relatively long time.
The focus of this research is the experience of social workers and the interactions carried out with LIC. Concerning building the principles of an ideal housing policy, this study gave rise to the theme: the principle of supportive housing policy i.e. housing policy must be linked to other social policies, the use of production subsidies in overcoming obstacles, housing policy cannot adopt the model of one size fits for all, provision and affordability, safety and convenience, support services are accessible and flexible, discussed further below.
Housing policy is Connected to other Social Policies
Housing policy is a policy that cannot stand alone, or it can be understood that housing is a policy that can have a broad impact on other social policies. In the context of this study, social policies connected to housing assistance are clean water, sanitation, electricity, and land ownership status policies.
Related to this, the initial question of the interview that the researcher asked was whether social workers already knew and understood that the principles of housing policy must be connected to other social policies. Most social worker informants put forward almost the same experience. This is evident in the story of social worker A who said that housing assistance must be utilized to the fullest and must be ensured to be supported by other social policies:
We have a principle that is how to make this housing assistance can be utilized optimally by LIC. We know that SHSA is a form of program in the construction or renovation of houses so social policies such as access to clean water, sanitation, electricity, and land ownership status should be ensured to be available first before the assistance program is implemented.
Meanwhile, social worker C explained that the process of identification and verification as a condition and criterion for determining the recipients of housing assistance programs is a very important thing to do before housing assistance is implemented, and agrees that housing assistance is a policy related to other social policies:
That’s right, we agree that this housing assistance should be supported by other policies because houses that are built or renovated must have access to other social policy needs, and from the beginning, we have to identify and verify.
Interestingly, social worker C recounted his experience of the obstacles and problems encountered throughout this program, namely that there are still LIC who do not have the legality of LIC land ownership status certificates which are still in the form of buying and selling documents only.
Although agreeing with the identification and verification process as stated by social worker C, a different thing was explained by social workers F, H, and M who said the social policy of access to clean water, sanitation, and electricity is mostly LIC in poor condition, although it can still be used but is not sufficient for household needs.
The experienced stated by some of the social workers above shows that procedurally, the principles of supporting housing policies have been carried out including the identification and verification process, especially for those related to social policies such as access to clean water, sanitation, and electricity even though there are still LIC problems that do not have legality related to land ownership status. To confirm the above problems, we conducted interviews with LICs and most responded that they still urgently need the attention of social facilities from the government such as access to clean water, sanitation, and electricity. The only problem as stated by social worker C above is that not all houses have a certificate of land ownership. Confirmation from LIC 2, 3, and 7 says as follows:
The problem we face is the status of land ownership that is not sup-ported by a certificate. This is because most houses are acquired by inheritance from parents and buying and selling transactions without using certificates.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, housing assistance policies have an impact on health and economic policies. This is evident from the story of LIC 1 and 5 who work as traders saying the following:
The policy of housing assistance through the provision of funds of Rp. 17,000,000, this is very helpful for us. The condition of the residential environment is getting better, especially from health factors for elderly parents and children who are still very susceptible to disease. On the other hand, we, especially women and housewives, can save and set aside money to divert trading capital to make our economic income increase.
The Use of Production Subsidies in Overcoming Obstacles
In practice, social workers in the housing assistance sector are not only faced with various problems that come from LIC such as low income, lack of home facilities and infrastructure, and poor health conditions. However, it also often has to face production problems such as the lack of supply of building materials for housing construction or renovation and the high cost of production that exceeds the amount of the aid budget so to overcome it, a production subsidy mechanism is needed. To overcome these obstacles, social workers C and I said the production subsidy mechanism in the housing assistance program has been carried out at the planning stage by cooperating with partners or providers of building materials for the purchase of building materials by the amount of housing assistance budget provided to LIC, as stated by social worker C and I as follows:
It is true that at the beginning we have applied the principle of production subsidies through cooperation between LIC represented by BG and partners or providers of housing building materials to be built or renovated, the selection of partners is carried out by LIC or BG in the hope of obtaining cheaper prices, in this way, production obstacles at the time of construction or renovation of houses can be avoided.
However, it is interesting to listen to what was conveyed by social worker G who recounted his experience when he encountered the problem of hampering the construction of relief houses due to the absence of availability of building materials, as stated as follows:
There was an incident where the housing assistance program did not run according to the predetermined plan and time because building materials were no longer available, and after we explored what the causative factors were, it turned out that there was an improper use of building materials and a lack of attention to the construction schedule. We see this as a matter of less commitment and awareness from the program’s receiving community.
Social worker F has almost the same experience, where the distribution of housing materials or building materials from partners providing building materials is late and does not arrive on time at the program site, thus hindering the process of building houses:
True, sometimes the supply of buildings from partners of building materials providers is subject to delays. To address this we provide understanding to building materials provider partners and remind them about the meaning of this commitment and agreement of the program.
To get thorough information, we found LIC 2,5, and 8 as recipients of the housing assistance program and their response said that delays in the supply and distribution of building materials sometimes occur due to weak commitments from building materials supply partners.
Housing Policy doesn’t just Adopt a one-size-fits-all Model or Approach.
As outlined in the previous section, the housing assistance program carried out has placed LIC as the main actor or actor. This is done to overcome the problem of the community’s lack of responsiveness to government policies and programs due to differences in views, values, and norms that apply to the program recipient community. Housing assistance social workers often face mixed responses and challenges from the community caused by these problems. Therefore, the use of a flexible and non-static approach on one model or the same size is a necessity for social workers. The experience of informants of social workers A and N in applying cultural approaches that are by the views and values of society are outlined below:
Local people have views and values that we cannot ignore. The strength is precisely there, how do we take advantage of these views and values so that housing assistance programs can be accepted? In addition to positioning the community as the main actor or actor of the program, we take a religious approach, for example by socializing that the health value that we manifest in the housing assistance program has similarities with the understanding and religious values adopted by the community.
The experience of social worker A through various approaches to LIC is also followed by some other social workers so that the community can accept housing assistance policies and programs, this is evident from the stories of social workers D, H, and O who say that in addition to having common health values, housing assistance programs also contain the value and culture of cooperation in the process of their activities and this is by the characteristics and has become a local tradition/wisdom of the community Indonesian:
The approach we take to the community to receive housing assistance programs is sometimes not easy, and we have to adjust to the culture of the local community so that they are willing to accept positively, one way is by providing information that this housing assistance is done together or mutually by the community and finally they are willing to respond positively.
Permanence and Affordability
Most LICs experience problems with uninhabitable housing conditions and low-income ability so they are unable to reach expensive housing prices. Therefore, the housing assistance program is a solution to encouraging the achievement of permanent and affordable housing buildings. The experience of a social worker I am described as follows:
In some locations, the condition of the beneficiary’s house is in poor condition, for example, brick wall buildings and some of the tops of houses made of wood have begun to be destroyed. We are working to make housing assistance useful for repairing damaged home buildings.
Social workers J and K said LIC already has an agreement and cooperation with a partner providing housing building materials related to the purchase price adjusted to the availability of the budget. The experience of almost the same social worker K about the condition of the building that is no longer suitable for residence is stated as follows:
We focus on building houses that are damaged to permanent, ranging from the installation of strong bricks, wood, and iron materials for the foundation of the house. Although the result is simply the house becomes stronger and more worthy of being a place to live, the point is that we want to make sure LIC gets a decent and permanent home for their daily family life.
A different view was expressed by social worker E who said the sustainability aspect is a goal that must be achieved in the principle of permanence and affordability, this is intended so that LIC as a beneficiary of the housing assistance program can enjoy it for a long time, therefore the building of houses must be built/renovated using quality materials, durable and can be used in the long term.
Safety and Comfort
One of the important goals of housing assistance is to provide comfort and security in a healthy environment for LIC. This is evident from the statement of social workers B and L who said safety and comfort factors are indicators of the success of the housing assistance program:
Comfort and safety factors are still important priorities for LIC in occupying the new residential building, in the long run, it is beneficial to the future interests of LIC children and families. Once these two factors are met, then we can say that the LIC housing assistance program has been successful.
To confirm the above statement of the social worker, interviewees in LIC 4 and 6 said the following:
That’s right, here we occupy a house with a relatively safe and comfortable environmental situation, something we have never gotten before. We hope that this can continue for a long time so that children and families can grow a positive environment.
Service Support Is Easy to Access and Flexible
Housing assistance is one of the solutions for LIC to own a house according to an affordable price and access to expected needs, on the other hand, the support of easily accessible and flexible services is a need for LIC that must get attention. Here is the statement of social workers B and L about it:
LIC access in meeting basic needs has been met although it is recognized that not all LIC needs get easy access such as the long distance between the house and the work site, this is because the location of the new house occupied by LIC is located in the suburbs, so LIC has to travel to the work site for a relatively long time.
The statement of the social worker above was confirmed through interviews with LIC 4, 6, 9, and 10, each of whom works as a factory worker in Serang City, Banten Province, which says as follows:
One of our difficulties is the distance to the work site, we have to travel to the highway first to access the pick-up transportation of the employees who are our only means of transportation, we hope that in the future the government will provide shuttle transportation near our newly occupied homes for workers living in the suburbs.
Housing policy is a policy that can have a broad impact on other social policies and most social worker informants who carry out activities on housing assistance programs say it is a necessity. Asa result of welfare reform, housing policy is increasingly seen as part of a holistic strategy to build human capital and drive economic mobility (Schill & Wachter, 2001).
Specifically, housing assistance programs such as SHSA in Indonesia require support such as the availability of access to clean water, sanitation, electricity, and land ownership status, therefore the identification and verification process as a condition and criterion for determining the recipients of housing assistance programs is a very important thing to do before housing assistance is implemented. Housing assistance is associated with improved health and psychological well-being for individuals entering public housing and multifamily housing programs (Fenelon et al., 2017).
The findings showed that there are still LIC who do not have the legality of land ownership status certificates because most of the houses are acquired by hereditary means or inheritance from parents and the sale and purchase of houses carried out by LIC parents are carried out without using certificates, on the other hand, almost most of the LIC residences experience poor conditions such as limitations in accessing clean water, sanitation and supply of electrical energy. the findings of this problem further confirm that housing policy will always be connected to other policies and that connectedness is carried out in the form of collective actions of the state or government to overcome these problems through other social policies so that intervention of the state through other social policies can be called another form of collective intervention (Sprigings, 2005).
However, SHSA housing assistance or surgical houses through the provision of funds amounting to Rp. 17,000,000, this is very helpful for LIC, especially health factors for elderly parents and children who are still very vulnerable to disease so that LIC, especially women and housewives, have the opportunity to save and set aside money to be diverted to trade capital to make the family’s economic income increase.
This research conducted by Cass (1986) explains that housing policy for women should be placed in the context of the distribution of economic and social resources in the broadest sense, taking into account not only the distribution of current income but also the distribution of resources to obtain future income. Regarding household income, Olsen (2005) emphasizes the importance of participation in family self-reliance programs as an initiative in public housing programs and housing vouchers to increase labour income.
Social workers in the housing assistance sector are faced with production problems such as the lack of supply of building materials for housing construction or renovation and the high cost of production that exceeds the amount of the aid budget. In contrast to the results of the study (Ellen et al., 2003) in the results of her research said that the housing production program has produced a substantial positive impact and contributed to the revitalization of the environment in New York City. Therefore, one of the efforts to overcome this problem requires a production subsidy mechanism which is carried out at the planning and cooperation stage with partners or providers of building materials for the purchase of building materials by the amount of the housing assistance budget.
According to Khadduri & Burnett (2003), there are several problems in the production subsidy mechanism, namely, first, the tendency to have higher costs; secondly, due to high costs, the effect can limit household choices; third, production subsidies can “extinguish” private housing production and, therefore, are ineffective in increasing the total housing stock; quarterly, production subsidies can reduce property values in some neighbourhoods.
In addition, other research findings show a lack of commitment and less awareness from the program recipient community due to improper use of building materials and lack of attention to the development schedule. According to Gao et al (2009), program housing has not focused on improving the results of work among consumers. In addition, creating organizational commitments among supportive housing providers to improve consumer employment outcomes remains a major challenge. Thus, the task and responsibility of the social worker which is also very important are to mature the mechanics of production subsidies at the planning and cooperation stage with partners or providers of housing building materials, in addition to the social worker must continue to encourage all parties involved in the SHSA housing program in Indonesia to build commitment and awareness.
As outlined in the previous section, the housing assistance program carried out has placed LIC as the main actor or actor. This is done to overcome problems that often occur and are encountered in the implementation of the SHSA program. On the other hand, the social work of housing assistance often faces diverse responses and challenges from the community due to the lack of public knowledge of government policies and programs due to differences in views, values, and norms that apply to the program recipient community.
The social work of the housing assistance program has taken advantage of the views and values prevailing in the community so that the housing assistance program can be accepted. In addition to positioning the community as the main actor or actor of the program, it also takes a religious approach, for example by socializing that the health value that we manifest in the housing assistance program has similarities with the understanding and religious values adopted by the people in Indonesia. That there is a value and culture of cooperation in the process of housing development activities and this is by the characteristics and has become a local tradition/wisdom of the Indonesian people.
The housing assistance program is a solution to encouraging the achievement of permanent and affordable housing buildings. The experience of social workers says that LIC already has an agreement and cooperation with partners providing housing building materials related to the purchase price adjusted to the availability of the budget. As the sustainability perspective is a goal that must be achieved in the principle of permanence and affordability, it is intended that LIC as a beneficiary of the housing assistance program can enjoy it for a long time, therefore the building of the house must be built/renovated using quality materials, durable and can be used within a long period.
According to Collins (2014), low-income communities continue to face barriers to buying a home, mainly due to a lack of income and net worth. The public policy seeks to subsidize these barriers to home buying for low-income people through tax policies, grants, and other strategies. The current policy is, at best, inefficient and unfair, and at worst and ineffective.
LIC access in meeting basic needs has been met although it is recognized that not all LIC needs get easy access such as the long distance between the house and the work site, this is because the location of the new house occupied by the LIC is located in the suburbs so that the LIC has to travel to the work site for a relatively long time. According to (Fossey et al., 2020) social housing location and housing-related support must explicitly pay attention to the safety and security issues of the community as a whole.
The main limitation of this study is related to a methodology that most studies pay more attention to interviews as primary data so as not to include documentation data as a support for research so that the work of the social housing assistance sector in various perspectives has limitations in tracing data derived from government documents.
Implications for Policy
Several similar studies have been conducted outside of Indonesia, including in Australia and the United States. US findings suggest that housing production programs have had a positive impact and contributed to environmental revitalization (Ellen et al., 2003). Building the principles of housing service policy support is very important as a positive response to the future direction of housing policy (Schill & Wachter, 2001) and as a basis for social workers in realizing the welfare of individuals, families and communities (Hugman, 2016). This research is specific to Indonesia and cannot be generalized to contexts outside Indonesia. This research offers interesting findings and should be considered by the Government to encourage the performance and appreciation of social workers in the social housing assistance sector. In addition, building the principles of housing service policy support by social workers is very important as a positive response to the future direction of housing policy in Indonesia in realizing community welfare.
Further research is needed in the future either from the aspects of diverse methodologies or the development of perspectives in analyzing social housing assistance programs. This will be useful for adding insight and knowledge to different analyses. Additional research from the perspective of social worker performance and social housing assistance trends is becoming particularly important in the future.
Establishing the principles of an ideal housing policy is a prerequisite for social workers in realizing the success of social housing assistance programs. Efforts such as collective government intervention through other social policies, focusing on the planning and cooperation stages with partners or providers of housing building materials to mature production subsidy mecha-nisms, encourage commitments and awareness of all parties involved in the SHSA housing program in Indonesia.
Within certain limits, the practice of social workers in the social housing assistance sector experienced several obstacles such as the lack of availability of access to clean water, sanitation, electricity, and land ownership status, production supply problems, lack of commitment and awareness of LIC, but the social workers in the social housing assistance sector have shown effective performance, especially in building housing policy principles.
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