Habitat for Humanity Canada joins global Home Equals campaign calling for equitable access to adequate housing in informal settlements around the world.

Toronto (May 15, 2023) - Habitat for Humanity today launched a five-year Home Equals campaign, aimed at changing policies globally, regionally, nationally, and locally to provide safe and secure housing for people living in slums and other informal settlements.

Over 1 billion people worldwide live in informal settlements, lacking basic services such as water, sanitation, and electricity. Poor living conditions make families and communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and it is time to level the playing field. The campaign is now active in over 35 countries, with more set to join.

At Habitat for Humanity, we know that adequate housing is a vehicle for tackling inequity”, says Julia Deans, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity Canada, which is supporting the campaign. “If we can remove the barriers in their way, residents of informal settlements will tap into their ingenuity and improve the places they call home, creating benefits for themselves, their families and larger society.

The economic and human development gains from improving housing in informal settlements at a massive scale would be substantial, according to a report released today in support of the Home Equals campaign. The first-of-its-kind report from Habitat for Humanity and its research partner, the International Institute for Environment and Development, modeled the benefits that would be realized – in terms of economic production, income, health, and education — from those housing improvements.

The report found that GDP and income per capita would increase by as much as 10.5% in some countries and that 730,000 lives would be saved each year globally by addressing housing needs in informal settlements — more than the number of lives that would be saved annually by eradicating malaria. As many as 41.6 million additional children would be enrolled in school, according to the modeling. That’s one out of every six out-of-school children in the world.

In the coming months and years, Habitat Canada will engage with our government, other stakeholders, and our Habitat colleagues around the world on this important initiative.

Together, we can ensure that home equals health, safety, security, and opportunities for a better future. Learn about all the different policy solutions Habitat is exploring around the world.