Habitat for Humanity urges equitable housing solutions at 11th World Urban Forum

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KATOWICE – RealEstateRama – As the 11th World Urban Forum opens today in Katowice, Poland, Habitat for Humanity International is calling attention to the enormous need for sustainable, equitable housing solutions. The global housing nonprofit will be hosting several events at the biennial forum to ensure housing is at the center of conversations, which will stem from this year’s theme: Transforming Our Cities for a Better Urban Future.

“Increasing equitable access to adequate and affordable housing, while frequently seen as solely a local or national responsibility, is also a global priority. Global agreements, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, raise the importance of housing as a key input for sustainable development,” said Patrick Canagasingham, chief operating officer at Habitat for Humanity International. “We at Habitat for Humanity urge governments, inter-governmental institutions and the organizations that make up civil society to tackle the forces perpetuating inequity in the housing ecosystem. By working together, we can ensure far more people from vulnerable and often-excluded groups have a safe, secure place to call home. We must address the global housing deficit now.”

According to the UN, more than 1.8 billion people lack adequate housing, including 1 billion people living in informal settlements. By 2030, the UN estimates that roughly 3 billion people will require adequate, affordable housing.

Attendees of this year’s World Urban Forum do not have to look far for evidence of the growing need for housing. With few rentals compared to other European countries, Poland has an affordable housing deficit estimated at more than 2 million units. And now Poland has received more refugees from Ukraine than any other country, with more than 4 million displaced people crossing into Poland since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

At this week’s forum, Habitat is emphasizing that the global housing deficit is rooted in systemic inequities, which are exacerbated by global stressors such as the Ukraine crisis and other conflicts as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, political instability and migration. A report released by Habitat for Humanity in 2021 found that a critical component of UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 — access to adequate and affordable housing — was one of only a handful of SDG indicators that is regressing. This reversal of previous progress reflects the global housing crisis that continues to affect millions around the world, threatening the world’s ability to achieve other goals related to poverty alleviation, including those focused on water, sanitation and health, gender equality and clean energy.

“We at Habitat are confronting these inequities head on. Habitat’s interventions to facilitate more inclusive housing markets, for example, have enabled more than 21 million people to access shelter solutions,” said Canagasingham. “We strongly support the UN Secretary General’s call to accelerate action to improve housing and informal settlements. And we are eager to work with partners both inside and outside of government to put housing at the center of the SDGs and act on our commitments to the New Urban Agenda.”

About Habitat for Humanity International

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

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