Community Work in Social Services Departments: The Case of the Social Housing Finance Corporation’s Community Mortgage Program


  • Miguel Payawal Ferido University of Sydney


The Community Mortgage Program (CMP) is a government financing window administered by the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) that assists organized and formally registered community associations of slum dwellers purchase land and develop settlements under the concept of community ownership. Through a self-reflexive narrative approach and a desk review of documents, the paper examines the implementation of the CMP, particularly its approach to working with communities. The paper argues that the SHFC’s approach in implementing the program is grounded on a mix of neo-colonial and traditional reformist perspectives of community development and is implemented through managerialist methods. Furthermore, its practice of community work is a purposive and calculated attempt to construct communities into governable constituents that can be assimilated into the current capitalist social order. This can be seen through their practice of promoting disadvantaged notions of slum communities, employing its strategy of formalizing land tenure and mobilization of self-help methods and implementing its day-to-day tactics that contradict  the pursuit of social justice and trasnformative change outcomes. The paper also provides general recommendations on how to pursue a more empowered and transformative approach in implementing the CMP.

Author Biography

Miguel Payawal Ferido, University of Sydney

A current graduate student at the University of Sydney taking a Masters in Policy Studies.


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