Where We Build
Families and communities around the world partner with Habitat for Humanity to help build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat for Humanity works with local governments and community-based organizations to:
- build affordable homes
- access affordable financing,
- advocate for affordable housing and land owner rights,
- train in construction, maintenance and livelihoods,
- improve access to safe water,
- provide knowledge on better hygiene and sanitation practices and
- planning disaster mitigation
Click the tabs below to learn more about locations throughout the world where we partner with families and local Habitat for Humanity organizations to build strength, stability and independence.
Builds in Canada
Since 2014, Global Village teams have built across Canada, working alongside other Habitats from Vancouver Island to PEI.
Habitat Canada works with other Habitat for Humanity organizations in the Latin America and Caribbean region. We send Global Village teams to various countries and through our Global Neighours program, support development projects that strengthens communities.
Read more about housing needs in Latin America and the Caribbean below:
Bolivia’s housing shortage is high, both qualitatively and quantitatively. More than 67% of the population lives in urban areas, concentrated primarily in the metropolitan center. It is estimated that 80% of the population will be urban by 2030.
The qualitative shortage is characterized by heavy overcrowding, involving approximately 30% of the population; in 24% of cases, three or more people sleep in a single room. An estimated 31% of the population has inadequate living conditions, while 64.8% do not have enough space in their home (INE 2018).
In the Dominican Republic, the housing deficit is nearly 2.2 million units, of which about 60% is qualitative (PNUD, 2010). This means that the number of inadequate houses is greater than the number of families without homes. The figure is growing annually by an average of 50,000 to 60,000 homes.
At the national level, the system of housing production is self- or social production. The high cost of construction services and families’ low incomes make it impossible for them to access the formal building sector, which naturally leads to deterioration of home quality and safety.
El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in the American continents. Eight of every 10 Salvadorans live in inadequate conditions (INCAE-HPHI, 2016) and 3 of every 10 families live in extreme poverty (UNDP, 2015).
Many families lack access to sanitation, potable water, education, and/or financing to improve their homes and land ownership.
El Salvador is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural threats of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and tropical storms.
Guatemala has one of the world's highest disparities between rich and poor as well as one of the highest poverty levels. 60% of Guatemalans live below the poverty line with Indigenous people the most affected where 79% live in poverty while 40% live in extreme.
A poorly ventilated home means families inhale dangerous levels of carbon monoxide emissions and other particles which have been associated with stillbirths, stunting, asthma and acute respiratory infections in children, and chronic pulmonary disease and cancer in women, who tend to have higher exposure to smoke.
Most people in rural areas do not have access to potable water or proper sewage systems. As a result, diseases caused by water contamination are widespread.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 58.5% of the population living on less than US$2.42 per day. Political instability, food shortages, unemployment, natural disasters and a lack of basic infrastructure have kept most Haitians locked in a cycle of poverty for generations. Access to housing is equally desperate. Before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti already faced a severe shortage of houses.
The earthquake damaged nearly 190,000 houses and 105,000 more were destroyed, adding to the pre-existing backlog of 300,000 houses required to meet the growing shelter needs of the country. Combined with Hurricane Matthew that directly hit the southern area in 2016, the housing needs have dramatically increased.
According to the study “Barriers to access to land for social housing in Honduras,” conducted by Habitat for Humanity Honduras in 2016, the country’s housing deficit reached 1.138 million units. More than 702,800 homes are in dire need of improvements.
Beyond the housing need, 11.5% of existing homes don't have access to tap water and 24% have dirt floors.
Despite the progress that has been made in providing housing in recent years, more than 53.3 million people in Mexico do not have the financial means to buy or build decent housing. Family income has been losing purchasing power: 60.6 million people (51.6%) earn incomes below the welfare line.
Of this population, 15.9 million people (13.6%) live in homes with dirt floors; roofs made of tin, cardboard or debris; and walls made of mud, reeds, palm or sheets. Another 24.9 million (21.2%) have no access to drinking water, sanitation, electricity and fuel for cooking or heating food.
According to the Urbanism, Housing and Habitat Ministry, an estimated 1.5 million people in Paraguay have no house or live in places lacking basic conditions for a decent life.
In the capital city of Asunción, 17.6% of the families either rent or live in a borrowed home, and the greatest amount of housing that can be enlarged is found in the country’s urban area.
With the recent high cost of loans in Paraguay, the housing shortage is experiencing meteoric growth
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Development estimates that some 200,000 people, about 19% of the population, live in informal settlements. The waiting list for government subsidized housing is approximately 107,000 people, some waiting for up to 25 years. The main housing demand stems from socio-economic inequity and population growth.
Habitat Trinidad & Tobago partners with entities across the political, corporate and civil society spectrum to advance our country’s UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG11 – Sustainable cities and communities. We are officially recognized as the only civil society resource for shelter provision by the national government.
Habitat Canada works with other Habitat for Humanity organizations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. We send Global Village teams to various countries and through our Global Neighbours program, support development projects that strengthens communities.
Read more about housing needs in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region below:
Located at the heart of a region riddled with political and economic conflict, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been sought as a safe haven by citizens displaced by wars and unrest in neighboring countries. The housing market has been stressed by the arrival of refugees from Iraq and Syria following decades of conflict. Approximately 1.3 million Syrian refugees live in Jordan.
The Comprehensive Vulnerability Assessment 2016 developed by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Jordan Response Platform for the Syria Crisis Secretariat, which identifies vulnerabilities, needs and gaps in assistance, has estimated a gap of over 100,000 housing units and an acute shortage of affordable housing.
Kenya has an annual housing demand of 250,000 units with an estimated supply of 50,000 units, culminating in a housing deficit of 2 million units, or 80% deficit. Housing affordability is a key challenge in Kenya with many people unable to afford to buy or build their own home. Only 2% of the formally constructed houses target lower-income families. About 6.4 million people, or of Kenya’s urban population live in informal settlements. Many families are at high risk of diseases such as malaria, respiratory infections and/or parasitic infestation.
Housing delivery is the responsibility of county governments, which often lack adequate resources. Also, 68% of Kenyans are without land documentation or tenure security
Malawi has about 4.8 million housing units of which 58.9% are sub-standards homes. These houses are characterized by mud walls and grass thatched roofs and the families in these housing units live with little hope of ever being able to afford a decent house. To meet the current housing demand, approximately 21,000 new units must be constructed for the next 10 years.
Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a path out of poverty, Habitat Malawi has helped over 41,000 families to access decent housing. We emphasize housing for vulnerable groups; water, sanitation and hygiene; Disaster Risk Reduction and Response; informal vocation training; and security of land tenure.
The poor quality of housing stock inherited from the period of centrally planned economy is still considered key determinant of the housing need. In addition, the weak economy and high unemployment rate triggered massive internal and external migration of Macedonia’s 2 million population, resulting in lack of decent and affordable housing in bigger cities compared to the excess of abandoned housing stock in rural areas. Its worst examples of poverty housing can be seen in densely populated, slum-like neighborhoods on the urban outskirts, characterized by overcrowded, often improvised homes lacking essential infrastructure. Issues deserving attention also include legalization and urbanization of informal settlements, and access to housing finance. Organizing the homeowners and improving the energy efficiency remain a must for the multi-family residential buildings.
Poland lacks about 1.5 million affordable homes. About 14% of Poles live in substandard conditions, and 40%, or 15 million people, live in overcrowded conditions of more than two persons per room.
Most Polish families – 70% -- can’t afford a mortgage. Poland builds too few housing units, while the rent market accounts to only 6% of the total housing stock.
Since 1989, the housing sector has been often neglected in Poland, especially for low-income families. The number of apartments built annually has not improved the situation. With 382 apartments for 1,000 inhabitants, Poland ranks as one of the lowest in the European Union.
Most of the degraded housing is located in Portugal’s rural areas. Some of the homes in poor conditions don´t have electricity, basic sanitation and running water. In the cities, the biggest problems are overcrowded houses and lack of insolation.
Habitat for Humanity Portugal focuses on rebuilding homes as opposed to new builds. Renovations to housing units makes the cost for partner families cheaper and more affordable. Most of the projects are based in rural areas.
The housing need in Romania is one of the most severe in the European Union. Of the 5 million Romanians who live in poverty, 1.5 million are children, and close to 52% of Romanians live in overcrowded conditions. Urgent repairs are needed on 21.5% of the country’s houses as they are in very poor condition. This means, that in winter months, 12% of Romanians cannot keep their homes adequately warm. Housing costs overburden 15% of Romanians.
Zambia is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most urbanized countries. The rural-urban migration is quite significant with the urbanization rate of change (4.35%) above the population growth rate (2.93%). The population distribution shows a high density in the central areas, particularly along the line of rail and mainly in Lusaka, Ndola, Kabwe and Mufulira, according to World Factbook 2017.
The national housing deficit stands at 2.8 million units and is projected to double by 2025, according to UN-Habitat. Due to the lack of affordable housing, about 70% of urban dwellers live in unplanned settlements with inadequate access to safe and clean water, sanitation, hygiene and extension facilities. Zambia’s existing housing stock is estimated at 2.5 million units.
Habitat Canada works with other Habitat for Humanity organizations in the Asia-Pacific region. We send Global Village teams to various countries and through our Global Neighbours program, support development projects that strengthens communities.
Read more about the housing need in the Asia-Pacific region below:
Based on a 2013 official population survey, it is estimated that at least 10 million Cambodians are in need of decent housing. Throughout the country, about 2 million houses require critical improvement to meet minimum quality standards. Under the Cambodia National Housing Policy, an additional 1.1 million houses will be needed by 2030 as a result of a population increase and rural urban migration. Out of the two million residents in the capital Phnom Penh, about 25,000 people are living in more than 340 slum communities that lack access to basic services and secure tenure. Often the most vulnerable have to deal with corruption and suffer forced evictions due to a lack of secure land tenure.
In Fiji, an estimated 140,000 people currently live in substandard housing conditions in informal settlements, and the number has increased by 5 percent from 2007 to 2012. According to official statistics, 31 percent of the Fijian population lives in poverty.
Poverty and inequality in Fiji continue to be a challenge. The rising cost of living and disasters such as Cyclone Winston which increased the poor’s vulnerability in 2016. In Fiji, the most vulnerable households also lack piped water, adequate sanitation, electricity or garbage disposal.
The world’s largest democracy, India has seen rapid economic growth and made progress toward achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. Income inequality remains a challenge though the poverty rate has been declining. World Bank data showed the national poverty rate has fallen from 37 percent in 2005 to 21.9 percent in 2012. To meet the national vision of a home for all by 2022, India will need to build an additional 20 million housing units.
Despite significant economic growth, about 26 million Indonesians are living below the poverty line, according to the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics. These families face greater hardships in times of an economic downturn or a natural disaster. Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions with droughts, flooding, and mudslides expected to worsen due to climate change. Currently, nearly 70 percent of low-income housing is built by the families themselves rather than by the government or private developers. Almost 25 million families live in urban slums with many others settling along railway tracks and riverbanks, and on streets.
Despite impressive economic growth over the last five years, Myanmar remains one of the poorest countries in Asia with one in three people living below the national poverty line. Most of the poor live in rural areas, but many pockets of poverty exist in urban areas where one in four people reside in slum communities. The population and housing census in 2014 showed that close to 81 percent of housing units were made of wood, bamboo and hut that were not durable because the materials were not properly treated. About 28 percent of households obtained their drinking water from unsafe sources and nearly 14 percent did not have a toilet.
Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with over one in four persons living below the national poverty line. An estimated 49 percent of Nepal’s population lives in substandard housing, according to the 2011 national census. This situation dramatically worsened with the 2015 earthquakes, and 2017 massive flooding that left over 900,000 houses destroyed or severely damaged. Many of those who were most affected by the disasters are from marginalized ethnic groups and lower castes, families with disabilities or severe health problems, and single-headed households. Habitat Nepal and its partners provide financial and technical support to these vulnerable groups who often fall through the cracks in the government’s support systems.
In the Philippines, nearly four million families are living in unsafe, unsanitary and unsustainable conditions. The Philippine government’s current housing policy and mechanisms for housing subsidy have been deemed inadequate to resolve the rising housing deficit. By 2030, the housing backlog will increase to about 6.5 million units. Partnership between the Philippine government, private land developers, corporations and other organizations is key to the formation of a comprehensive and sustainable housing program.
Despite great advances made by Sri Lankan housing programs, the need for safe, secure and permanent housing in the country is made more pressing by poverty, civil strife and natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, landslides. A decade after the 26-year long civil war ended in 2009, many families are still identified as internally displaced persons, living in temporary tin sheet shacks in the north and east of the country. It is estimated that one in two people living in the capital Colombo is a slum dweller who lacks adequate access to clean water and safe sanitation. The lack of decent housing for tea, rubber and coconut plantation workers is another area of concern. These workers live in inadequate housing known as line houses without proper water and sanitation facilities.
Vietnam has lifted more than 35 million people out of poverty since the early 1990s due to rapid economic growth and reforms. However, nearly 8 percent of Vietnam’s 97-million population is still living on less than 700,000 Vietnamese dong (US$30) per month in rural areas. Low-income families living in poorly built housing are constantly being forced to rebuild their homes due to natural disasters. Seven in 10 people with inadequate shelter face the risk of typhoons, torrential storms and flooding which hit Vietnam annually. Among rural dwellers, about one third lack adequate sanitation while 3 percent do not have access to clean water.