Inadequate housing is a global problem that requires a global solution, which is why Habitat Canada works to tackle the issue in Canada and internationally. Habitat for Humanity Canada plays a key role in the developing world, mobilizing funds and volunteers to help families in need of safe, decent places to live around the world.
Through our International Programs, we direct local dollars from across the country into regional grants for home-building and shelter solutions in developing countries. In 2016, Habitat Canada directly served more than 6,700 people through interventions such as home building, repairs and renovations, community infrastructure improvements, and training programs. To learn more about Habitat Canada's impact abroad and what we achieved in 2016, see the International Programs 2016 Impact Report.
Home for home
It’s a simple concept that Habitat Canada strives for in solidarity with families in need of housing around the world: building one house in a developing country for every house built at home.
The funds contributed by local Habitats and donors across Canada have improved the quality of life of families in many countries in the developing world, including areas affected by natural disaster.
Habitat Canada supported projects
The housing deficit in the Dominican Republic grows annually by an average of 50,000 to 60,000 homes and, due to the high cost of construction services, low-income families are unable improve their living conditions. The housing need is particularly great in the provinces of San Juan and Azua, where the majority of people are living in poverty. The Building It Together with Families project is helping 36 families in the San Juan and Azua provinces with the construction of 36 homes, positively impacting at least 180 people. These houses are innovative, prefabricated homes that are built at a much lower cost than other models, which makes them more accessible for the low-income families this project serves. Learn more about the Building It Together with Families project.
Nicaragua has one of the highest housing deficits in Central America. Not only does the country need 20,000 additional houses per year, but over 50 percent of the existing homes require drastic infrastructure improvements. The Seed Houses for Families of Women Entrepreneurs project focuses on 13 neighbourhoods in the municipality of Estelí, directing support to home improvements and the construction of modular homes known as “seed houses.” The expectation is that as families grow and become more financially stable, they will build additional rooms to these seed houses as needed. In particular, this project is supporting 22 families with an emphasis on women entrepreneurs who work from their homes, helping them develop their economic activity in an improved work environment. Learn more about the Seed Houses for Families of Women Entrepreneurs project.
El Salvador struggles with high rates of poverty, inequality and crime – in particular, high rates of gang-related crime and juvenile delinquency. The Building Young Neighbours for Peace project in El Salvador brings together young people in three local communities – San Vicente, San Salvador and La Libertad – to participate as volunteers on six different home builds. In addition to benefitting six families with safe and decent homes, this project is strengthening relationships with local community groups, enhancing national volunteering, and engaging vulnerable youth in productive activities that keep them away from potential risks in their communities. Learn more about the Building Young Neighbours for Peace project.
When a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Habitat for Humanity responded immediately, building on nearly 30 years of experience working in Haiti. Habitat for Humanity’s recovery program in Haiti has benefitted more than 50,000 families through emergency, transitional, and permanent housing solutions. Given the scope of the need in Haiti, long-term change must involve empowering entire communities to rebuild their lives. In the community of Simon-Pele, the Investing in People and Business project is strengthening the long-term economic future and social fabric of the community by providing people with a wide range of training and skills development opportunities. Training programs include construction, business development, disaster risk reduction, vocational skills, and financial literacy. Learn more about the Investing in People and Business project.
Kenya and Uganda
In sub-Saharan Africa, about 95 percent of people do not have access to the formal financing that would allow them to start building or improving a home. Because of this, most people build progressively, starting with a makeshift shelter and then gradually replacing it with more permanent materials. In partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and six local financial institutions, the Building Assets, Unlocking Access project supports these families in accessing small, short-term loans with affordable payments that can fund their incremental building process. By working with local financial service providers already serving the low-income population, this housing microfinance project allows us to extend our reach and start making a greater impact on families in need of a decent place to live. Learn more about shelter solutions for low-income families in Kenya and Uganda.
Known as the “warm heart of Africa,” Malawi is among the smallest and least developed countries in the world. The country’s massive housing deficit is especially acute amongst Malawi’s special needs community, as many people living with disabilities are excluded from mainstream society. In partnership with Cbm Canada, Habitat for Humanity is working towards the goal of improving the physical living conditions and quality of life of 60 families with disabilities in the Salima District. The Empowering Families of People with Disabilities project will significantly improve the living conditions of families with disabilities by providing fully subsidized homes equipped with ventilated washrooms – not only reducing their vulnerability to intrusion and diseases, but also improving their hygiene and social and economic participation. Learn more about the Empowering Families of People with Disabilities Project.
In partnership with Cbm Canada, Habitat is working to transform the living conditions of people who have disabilities or are at risk of developing disabilities in Fitche, Ethiopia. The Fitche Integrated Vulnerable Group Housing project is increasing vulnerable families’ access to safe, decent housing. In addition, this project aims to create a healthy communities by improving sanitation facilities at the community level, and by encouraging learning and knowledge transfer to become a model for future housing programs in Ethiopia. Learn more about the Fitche Integrated Vulnerable Group Housing project.
The Safe and Empowered Communities for Urban Reintegration (SECURE) project is unique in making centrally located urban land available for housing low-income people in Cambodia. Through this project, Habitat supports families and local authorities in securing land through the government’s Social Land Concession program. The work involves converting state-owned land in urban areas in Battambang into privately owned plots with secure tenure granted to families living in informal settlements. Habitat is also working with local partners to provide 50 safe and decent homes for low-income families in Battambang. Learn more about the Safe and Empowered Communities for Urban Reintegration project.
The devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal left more than 8,700 people dead and resulted in large-scale damage to hundreds of thousands of homes. But even before the earthquake, the country’s housing need was acute and growing. A 2010 study by UN-Habitat showed that at least 40,000 urban housing units are required annually in Nepal. In 2017, Habitat Canada and Habitat Nepal began working together to improve the lives of families in the Kavre and Nuwakot Districts of Nepal. Habitat is providing grants of $2,500 to 30 low-income families in Kavre to enable them to build new disaster-resilient homes, designed in collaboration with the government. Learn more about Habitat Canada’s partnership with Habitat Nepal.
To find out how you can volunteer on these and other Habitat for Humanity build projects around the world, please visit our Global Village website.