A safe, affordable, and decent place to live often means improved health outcomes, employment and education, and in the face of a warming planet, housing can also be part of the fight against climate change—according to a new release from the Habitat for Humanity.
Their story is highlighted in Habitat for Humanity International's fiscal year 2023 annual report, released by the global housing nonprofit.
Mayra Carolina and her mother, Maira, partnered with Habitat El Salvador to build their energy-efficient home in La Palma, which they moved into in February 2023. Their new home includes large windows to improve ventilation, a solar energy collection kit that generates clean and renewable energy, a rainwater harvesting system, and an insulated thermoacoustic roof to help keep indoor temperatures comfortable.
Habitat El Salvador's building specifications led to a top international certification in design efficiency and allow Mayra Carolina and Maira to live in an affordable home, save on utility bills and limit their carbon footprint.
Their story is highlighted in Habitat for Humanity International's fiscal year 2023 annual report, released today by the global housing nonprofit.
In 2023, Habitat for Humanity helped 13.4 million people build or improve a place to call home. An additional 9.5 million people gained the potential to improve their housing conditions through training programs and advocacy work driven by Habitat in local communities.
"This year, in the face of a global housing crisis, Habitat staff, supporters, volunteers, advocates and homeowners made meaningful progress toward our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "In prioritizing not just our own building expertise but also building broader solutions with partners around the world, our work reached more people than ever before. Through increasingly severe weather events, higher building costs and conflicts across the globe, we were humbled and awed by the dedication on display by the Habitat network."
Thanks to the generous support of donors and partners, Habitat piloted new programs and improved others to meet the housing need in communities around the world.
In May 2023, Habitat launched Home Equals, a five-year global advocacy campaign that aims to help 15 million residents of informal settlements access safe, adequate housing. With fewer barriers, people living in informal settlements can unleash their full potential. Already, participants in the campaign have successfully advocated for 38 policies or systems changes in 10 countries.
Habitat's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter continues to be on the front lines of groundbreaking strategies to help improve housing conditions internationally. The Terwilliger Center and the Asian Development Bank provided technical assistance to Annapurna and other microfinance institutions to increase their capacity to scale affordable loans. This year, 213,936 low-income women and their families partnered with Annapurna to gain access to housing and water, sanitation, and hygiene, or WASH, loans.
Habitat's Advancing Black Homeownership initiative celebrated its first anniversary this year and saw Habitat affiliates across the country make the pursuit of racial justice in housing a core component of their work. In September 2022, Habitat Dutchess County, located in New York, found that just one in 25 Black families were accepted to their homeownership program during a recent application period. Those not accepted did not meet the financial requirements. Instead of turning these applicants away, the affiliate launched Homeward Bound, a program that helps prepare prospective Habitat homebuyers for mortgage readiness.
Likewise, Twin Cities Habitat is expected to work alongside 5,000 first-generation homebuyers, particularly in communities of color, through Minnesota's First-Generation Down Payment Assistance Program. The affiliate co-led a pilot that resulted in a $150 million program designed to reach buyers whose parents never owned a home. Twin Cities Habitat will also host the 38th Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in 2024, which will provide an opportunity for families of color to gain the benefits and wealth-building potential of Habitat homeownership.
Entering its fifth and final year, Habitat's Cost of Home advocacy campaign has already helped create or shape more than 300 policies at the local, state, and federal levels, meaning 6.6 million more people have access to stable, affordable homes.
"None of Habitat's successes could have been possible without the more than 895,000 volunteers who helped build, advocate and raise awareness about the global need for shelter in the past year," Reckford said. "To all of you, we are so incredibly grateful for your support and willingness to work alongside us toward a world where everyone has a decent place to live."
The FY2023 annual report also provides detailed information about Habitat for Humanity International's activities and financials for the period between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, along with the network of Habitat affiliates in all 50 states in the U.S. and national organizations and program partnerships in more than 70 countries.
To read the full release, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.