Mexicans Abandon Government Subsidized Housing Developments

(p. A5) ZUMPANGO, Mexico — In an enormous housing development on the edge of this scrappy commuter town, Lorena Serrano’s 11-foot-wide shoe box of a home is flanked by abandoned houses. The neighborhood has two schools, a few bodegas and a small community center that offers zumba classes.
There is very little else.
“There are no jobs, no cinema, no cantina,” said Ms. Serrano of the 8,000-home development, called La Trinidad. Her husband’s commute to the capital, Mexico City, about 35 miles south, takes two hours each way by bus and consumes a quarter of his salary, she said. “We’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Ms. Serrano, 39, is among more than five million Mexicans who, over the past decade, bought houses through a government program that made mortgages available to low-income buyers.
The program, initially hailed by some experts as the answer to Mexico’s chronic housing deficit, fueled a frenzy of construction and helped inspire similar efforts in Latin America and beyond, including Brazil’s “My House, My Life,” which aims to build at least 3 million homes by this year.
But the concrete sprawl around Mexico City and other big towns grew faster than demand. Commutes proved unbearable, and residents abandoned their homes.

For the full story, see:
VICTORIA BURNETT. “ZUMPANGO JOURNAL; They Built It. People Came. Now They Go.” The New York Times (Tues., SEPT. 9, 2014): A5.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date SEPT. 8, 2014.)

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