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Housing Service Activity & Financial Report 2010-2011

At Auroville nothing belongs to anyone in particular.
All is collective property.
To be utilised with my blessings for the welfare of all.
The Mother

May 2011

  • The Housing Service is directly acting under and answerable to the Funds and Assets Management Committee.
  • For the mandate, policy and regulations of the service, please refer to AVNet (References). The Housing Group contains members of the Housing Service and representatives of the AV Council, Entry Service and L'avenir d'Auroville.
  • The accounts of the service are consolidated under the Unity Fund and audited yearly.
  • Regarding the financial situation, we can offer the preliminary figures of this year 2010-2011, which is coming to an end, to have an idea of the various budgets, activities, and requests/allocations per year.
  • For the sake of clarity, at the outset, it has to be understood that Auroville's aim to provide for free the accommodation to Aurovilians remains still largely un-manifested. Over the 44 years of Auroville history, the houses have been built with the funds provided by the Aurovilians for their own accommodation. Auroville's collective funds are utilized for maintenance of Aurovilians, and existing assets and services. Unfortunately there are not collective funds available for development of new housing.
  • In order to be a more equitable society, for years it has been established a system of fraternal sharing in which those who build houses that cost above 5 lakhs, have to contribute an extra 10% to a fraternal fund which provides financial support to other Aurovilians without means, so that they can build new, or renovate / extend their houses.
  • Houses that were vacated by those who leave Auroville are either given pro-bono (at no cost / free) or transferred in exchange of a donation, to a new steward and the funds are utilized for the repatriation, or are being kept in an account in case the former steward comes back or they are utilized for building new housing either pro-bono or for newcomer accommodation.
  • In the last two years, the Housing Service was extremely happy to welcome the development of three housing projects financed entirely with donations and which have provided 33 pro-bono accommodations. (24 in Citadines with funds from individual donors and 11 in Inspiration with funds from the Government of India (GoI)) and a residence with 7 bedrooms for young Aurovilians (with funds from the donation of an organisation). A new project financed by the GoI is under preparation). It is the Housing Service's most cherished dream to see more and more of these projects happening.

The Housing Service manages the following accounts/services:

•  New Housing Development (financed by personal contributions or grants / donations.

•  Fraternal Fund

•  Development Fund

•  Repairs Section

•  Newcomer Housing

•  House-sitting

•  House Transfers & Exchanges

In successive weeks we will be offering details of each one of these activities and funds. Please find in AVNet full report.

 

 

New Housing Development

 

a) financed by the future stewards:

The Housing Service facilitates the agreements and channels the payments for the construction of these new houses.

In the last 2 years the following projects have been under construction and are either still under construction, or already finished:

 

Housing Project

Total Number of residences

 

Luminosity

12 and 6 offices

 

Maitreye

20

 

Realization

17

 

Swayam

4

 

Arati III

12

 

Grace IV

6

 

Surrender

9

 

Muyerchi

7 rooms

 

Citadines

31

 

Prayatna

4

 

Inspiration

13

 

Saylam

5 and 1 office

 

Other individual projects

10

 

 

b) financed by grants/donations:

The Housing Service facilitates the agreements and channels the payments. In the case of the GoI grants, Housing Service supervises also the construction and accounts.

The houses are given pro-bono to Aurovilians and Newcomers. This year the following two projects were executed and housing provided on a pro-bono basis:

 

Housing Project

Number of Residences given on pro-bono basis

 

Citadines

24

 

Inspiration

11

 

Muyerchi

7 rooms

 

 

Fraternal Fund

This is the fund that receives the 10% contributions from new constructions or new stewardship agreements. These funds are used exclusively for giving grants up to 2.5 lakhs of rupees to Aurovilians without or with little financial resources, in order to build, renovate or extend a house. The decisions about the grants are taken by the Housing Group, based on the merits of each case and in accordance with the current Housing Policy.

 

In the present financial year the Housing Fraternal Fund has received a total of Rs. 27.50 lakhs
and has allocated to 20 Aurovilians a total of Rs. 25.84 lakhs
(Exact details are available and yearly presented to FAMC).

 

 

Development Fund

This is the fund that receives:

a) Donations (from AVI centres, friends of Auroville, etc)

b) Grants from Budget Coordination Committee for huts for land protection,

c) Compensation for exchanged houses, vacant houses or Newcomer houses converted into permanent housing.

 

The Housing Service utilizes these funds to build huts for land protection, or build pro-bono houses and new houses to be utilized as Newcomer housing or by Aurovilians on a temporary basis, contributing monthly for general expenses and maintenance.

 

In the present financial year, the Housing Development Fund has received a total of Rs. 62.00 lakhs
which have been utilized in the construction of 5 Newcomer apartments, 2 huts for land protection, the renovation of one or two apartments for exchange and one house given to an Aurovilian who donated a house. All for a total of Rs. 60.00 lakhs
(exact details are available and yearly presented to FAMC)

 

 

Repairs Section

The Housing Service takes care of the repair of houses when:

a) The Aurovilian steward of the asset is not able to provide fully or partially the funds required for a necessary repair In these cases, the HS utilizes the monthly budget of Rs. 90,000 which the Budget Coordination Committee allocates for this purpose

b) The Aurovilian steward of the asset requests the HS to take care of a necessary repair although he/she is financing the repair costs.

 

In the present financial year, the Repair Fund has received from City Services (BCC allocations) Rs. 14,0 lakhs
From Individuals Rs. 13,00 lakhs
and has utilized the funds in repairs to about 110 Aurovilians for a total of Rs. 26.50 lakhs

 

 

 

Newcomer Housing section

Manages the 47 existing newcomer houses. Receives monthly contributions from Newcomers and it uses the funds entirely for renovation/repairs of Newcomer houses. The average payment per month is between Rs. 600 to Rs. 5000 per newcomer house.

 

House-sitting

Manages the agreements for house-sitting. It receives monthly contributions from Aurovilians and Newcomers who have not decided on a permanent house yet and who use a house on a temporary basis. These are houses of Aurovilians who are short or long term out of station (TOS) or who are Friends of Auroville and therefore only utilize the house for short periods. The money received is entirely utilized for renovation/repairs of the same house. At present there are about 40 house-sitting situations recognized by the Housing Service (agreement has been done by the Housing Service).

 

House Transfers & Exchanges

 

The Housing Service takes care of formalizing transfer and exchange of houses whenever an Aurovilian decides to leave the house he/she is stewarding in order to move to a more suitable one, or to leave Auroville for good. Since normally the Aurovilian needs the money for the construction of the new house, the old one is evaluated by a professional evaluator and the availability of this house is published in the News and Notes. The neighbours normally decide in consultation with the Housing Service who will be the new steward among those interested in taking the house. The new steward donates to Auroville the value estimated, which is utilized for the new construction.

 

This year the Housing Service has facilitated about 30 evaluations and exchanges. The 10% fraternal fund contribution applies whenever the new steward is contributing for the first time for a house in Auroville or if the cost of the new asset is much superior to the old one, but not if he/she has contributed the 10% in the past for a house of similar value.

 

In the case of an Aurovilian who permanently leaves Auroville, for whatever reason, and he/she leaves a vacant housing asset, the Housing Service reviews what can be the best future use of the house. The decision may vary between giving it pro-bono to another Aurovilian or exchanging it for some compensation in order to pay debts or repatriation of the previous steward, or to take care of repairs needed, or in order to utilize the funds in the Development Fund.

 

The Housing Service does not charge anything and does not get any benefit from any of the previous activities.

 

The Housing Service's administrative functioning is being maintained by the City Services Fund, with a monthly budget of Rs. 15,000. City Services also provides the basic maintenance to the Aurovilians working in the Housing Service: 1 Aurovilian working full time as coordinator, 2 Aurovilians working full time in repair section, 1 Aurovilian working full time in Accounts, 1 Aurovilian working half time in the Newcomer Section, 1 Aurovilian working half time in Housing Evaluations and 1 Aurovilian working half time in administration support. One more Aurovilian is working full time in several sections but on self-supporting basis.

 

Problems faced by the Housing Service

Sometimes Aurovilians / Newcomers do not follow the basic rules existing in Auroville with regard to the management of houses and:

 

a) offer or take houses on house-sitting basis without making the required House-sitting Agreement via the Housing Service. Often the contributions requested by the steward are higher than the standard ones approved by the Housing Service. This goes against the necessary transparency in our internal arrangements and often provokes problems difficult to solve because of the absence of proper and agreed upon house-sitting conditions.

 

b) undertake extensions of a stewarded house without requesting permission to L'avenir d'Auroville and without giving the required 10% contribution over the extension cost. This makes it difficult to maintain an updated database and strengthens individualistic and selfish attitudes.

 

c) In some communities new construction when finished has not been formalized in a House Agreement nor has the resident paid the usual contribution. The Housing Service is presently reviewing some of these cases and the stewards will be requested to regularize the situation.

d) Sometimes Aurovilians / Newcomers, due to either their ignorance about the processes or because they believe in inheritance or accumulation of assets for the future, have claimed and kept the stewardship of a second housing asset. This is contrary to our agreed functioning and HS, AV Council, and FAMC have clarified in several cases that such attitude cannot be accepted.

 

 

 

For up-to-date information on housing in Auroville, consult:


Housing Service,
Town Hall,
Auroville 605 101,
Tamil Nadu,
INDIA

Email: housingauroville.org.in 

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