A powerful program focused on the integration of housing and the environment

The VIDHAS program allows a decrease in the regional housing deficit thanks to the financial solutions provided by CABEI for social integration projects that include people and their environment.
The VIDHAS program allows a decrease in the regional housing deficit thanks to the financial solutions provided by CABEI for social integration projects that include people and their environment.

To date, approximately 9,560 households in the Central American region have been benefited.


San Salvador, October 31, 2018 (AFP SERVICES/CABEI).  The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) is committed to the countries of the region in promoting decent housing with its Sustainable Habitat Housing and Development Program (VIDHAS), which has benefited approximately 40,573 people.

Today is the commemoration of World Cities Day. Through its Institutional Strategy "Integrating Sustainable Development and Competitiveness," CABEI focuses on supporting initiatives that improve the development of the quality of life of the population. In addition, through its focus area of human development and social infrastructure, the Bank supports such projects as water and sanitation, waste disposal, waste treatment and equipment and infrastructure for social housing.

To support the sustainable development of cities, CABEI has approved US$315.5 million for Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica, where the latter is ahead, as the US$50.0 million cooperation granted to the country has been executed in its entirety.

CABEI Executive President Dr. Nick Rischbieth stated that, "The idea is to link housing to the environment and discover how we as human beings intervene in the city and affect its sustainable development."

In Central America, the VIDHAS initiative has reached these four countries through direct credit to governments with sovereign guarantees, as well as via credit with intermediary entities.

Created at the end of 2015 within the framework of the New Urban Agenda, which was approved at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, the program represents an opportunity to improve the quality of life of Central Americans.

Towards more sustainable urban models

In Costa Rica, the program has been synonymous with prosperity for 1,670 beneficiary households, of which 38% are headed by women. VIDHAS is a successful project; the hope for a better home has been accompanied by the impact of VIDHAS on employment. During the construction and manufacturing stages of these housing solutions, 5,785 temporary jobs were created.

The average amount of loans granted, which benefited 5,845 Costa Ricans, was US$33,000 for the improvement, construction and expansion of housing.

In its first stage, the VIDHAS program, which was launched in 2016 in Costa Rica, sought to cover urban planning needs and, specifically, cover housing needs for the middle class. Dr. Rischbieth added that, "There is definitely much more to be done," noting that during the second stage, which is already underway in Costa Rica, support will be provided to environmentally friendly initiatives that, "Help improve the conditions of the cities and come from the private or municipal sector."

One of the initiatives that the entity is evaluating in Costa Rica is a so-called Technological City, which includes in its first initial phase approximately 14,400 square meters of institutional infrastructure, plus 12,500 square meters of social housing, (which represents) approximately 200 units and 43,500 square meters of medium housing (...), equivalent to 600 units, including an area for commercial projects and public spaces. This proposal is designed so that people who live there can have a space for work or for recreation.

El Salvador and VIDHAS
In the case of El Salvador, CABEI has approved financing of US$70.0 million, which is currently in the approval phase of the executive body and will subsequently pass on to the approval of the Legislative Assembly. In addition, through an intermediated loan, a global credit line has been approved for US$40.0 million, which has been disbursed in full for the granting of credits to the low-income housing sector, benefiting 2,843 households.

The direct credit of US$70.0 million includes more than 78 percent for housing and habitat infrastructure and more than 15 percent for sector and institutional strengthening.

In this country, CABEI has already identified a flagship project that aims to improve the quality of life and development of the inhabitants of the capital denominated ‘San Salvador 500.’ The metropolitan projects involves the creation of a center of economic integration with the construction of houses next to productive poles.

VIDHAS is also present in Guatemala, where CABEI has approved direct financing for US$100.0 million, while in Nicaragua the institution has approved US$55.00 million for the construction and improvement of low-income housing; this is under execution and has benefited 5,047 households.