The housing situation in Kerala is better than that available in other states. While at the all India level about 52% of families occupy permanent and strong houses, in Kerala their percentage is 68. In Kerala each house has an average of three rooms, but at the all India level the average is two rooms.
The boost in the housing sector in Kerala started with the land reforms. Ownership of house sites paved the way for the construction of houses. Centrally sponsored schemes like Indira Avas Yojana were beneficial to poor people in other states. But in Kerala the government introduced schemes like the 'One Lakh Houses Scheme' had enabled the poor to have houses of their own. It reached its maximum during the period of the peoples' plan campaign. The local self governing institutions constructed and handed over about 5.7 lakh houses during this period. The District Panchayats of Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur introduced the total housing scheme. The aim was to provide houses to the needy by availing the required fund by way of loans instead of waiting for the availability of fund for ten or twenty years. The strategy was to repay the loans by utilizing the future plan funds and the repayment of amounts by the beneficiaries. Instead of going ahead with this set up which was capable of effecting a housing revolution in the state, what UDF did unfortunately was to dismember it rather than going ahead with this set up.
Each self government institutions should have a clear plan for total housing project. While cent percent subsidy is offered to those who are below the poverty line, for others there should be specific schemes to provide loans according to their means. For those who are financially sound the schemes of the Housing Board and other banking firms can be utilized. Facility shall be there to prioritise the housing schemes for the poor. Similar kinds of loan schemes shall be implemented by 'Kudumbasree'. The renovation of the twin 'One Lakh Houses' in to single unit is to be taken up. Separate schemes shall be introduced for those who do not have land of their own.
The housing issue of the 'Adivasis' is in a disorganized state. The participation of the beneficiaries cannot be ensured for the construction and maintenance of houses. It is a part of the problem faced in the implementation of sub-projects for the Scheduled Tribes. Houses are to be designed and constructed to suit the peculiar life style and culture of the tribal people. The project is to be implemented with the active participation of the tribal village councils.
Within the last four decades tremendous changes have taken place in the house construction pattern and building materials. In 1961 about 74% of houses were thatched with palm leaves and grass and in 2001 its percentage has diminished to just 11 %. In 1961 there were only 0.1% of concrete houses. In 2001 it has risen to 21%. In 2001, 33% houses were built of cement and hardwood or similar material, while in Kerala it was 72%. Now houses have become a status symbol. A sizable number of houses in Kerala are big and luxuriously furnished compared to the houses in other states. Gulf money had played a big role in developing this tendency. A Keralite has no hesitation in building a house of his dream by investing huge amount of money. This tendency has to be discouraged. Natural resources are very limited and construction styles which reduce the wastage of resources are to be encouraged.