Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria and our partners around the world today launched a five-year campaign, called Home Equals, seeking policy changes at the local, national and global levels to increase access to adequate housing for people living in informal settlements.
As part of the Home Equals campaign, Habitat Bulgaria is advocating for informal settlement upgrading and providing basic infrastructure and services at the community level. According to NSI data from “Census 2021” – 266 720, or 4.4% of the respondents, identified themselves as Roma, a large part of whom live in illegal housing.
“Residents of informal settlements are playing an incredibly important role as they find housing solutions for themselves,” said Mincho Benov, national director of Habitat Bulgaria. “The right policies can remove barriers, accelerate these efforts, and open the door to a better future for many more people who deserve an opportunity to live in a safe, secure home.”
At the global level, Habitat for Humanity is calling on G7 member states — set to meet this weekend in Hiroshima, Japan — to recognize equitable access to housing as a critical lever for development progress and commit to addressing housing needs in informal settlements as a way to advance international development priorities in areas such as economic growth, health and education.
The economic and human development gains from improving housing at a massive scale in informal settlements 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, or IIED, modeled the benefits that would be realized – in terms of economic growth, 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 roughly 730,000 lives could be saved each year globally — more than the number of deaths that would be prevented 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.
“This report adds to the evidence that ensuring people living in informal settlements have access to adequate housing isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do,” said Jonathan Reckford, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Through the Home Equals campaign, we and our partners are committed to taking action so that, when it comes to the places we call home, the more than 1 billion people living in informal settlements are truly treated as equals.”