Location: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
A basic element of a healthy society is the presence of vibrant communities and developments where the average citizen can raise a family. Regrettably, the many-fold escalation in land prices has made housing unaffordable for the poor. Currently, there exists a lower income housing shortfall of 4 million units in Punjab alone that is not being addressed by any sustainable public or private sector initiative. Naturally, this demand is addressed by the informal sector through the development of ‘katchi abadis’/slums—which in turn, create a host of new problems. In January of 2006, Saiban, a non profit leader in the low income housing sector, joined hands with Acumen Fund to introduce the revolutionary incremental development housing model of Khuda Ki Basti (Settlement of God) in the Punjab. The purpose of the 20-acre/460-unit project was to demonstrate the financial viability of such a high social impact project to the private sector. After three years of consistent efforts and hard work by the Saiban team, the Khuda Ki Basti model had shown strong signs of success. Building on the Saiban model of incremental development, in 2008, Jawad Aslam launched AMC. AMC focuses on scalability and sustainability through its for-profit approach & focus on community development. It targets households earning USD 95 – 235 per month. In October of 2009, Acumen Fund, Bamboo Finance, and some private sector investors agreed to invest USD 2 million combined to launch a proposed 100-acre/2300-unit project by the name of Immersion, near the existing Khuda Ki Basti housing development. With international investors on board, the ground breaking ceremony of the Immersion project took place in February 2011.