Christcola Basila and Kennedy Sialoombe

Abstract: In 1996 Zambia formulated a comprehensive housing policy aimed at the provision of adequate and affordable housing, especially for the low low-income groups. This study assesses whether the ownership of houses has helped people improve their houses and their economic status. It employs a qualitative methodology. The Alternative Development and Gender and Development (GAD) theories underpin the analysis of the study results. The privatisation of housing has both positive and negative effects on the poor. Some house owners’ economic status or security have improved to some extent due to ownership of a house. They are now able to make savings, resale the house, sublet it or trade at home. However, privatisation of houses denied some people of their rights hence became disempowered since they could not afford to purchase their houses. During the privatisation of houses, the government did not put measures to help the poor realise their housing rights. Thus, owning a house did not provide a sustainable solution to economic insecurity neither did it lead to meaningful economic empowerment as people did not participate in the decision-making process.