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Habitat for Humanity launches Poverty Housing Report in search of a solution to Pacific Islands housing crisis

Report ‘Poverty Housing in the Developing Nations of the Pacific Islands’ reveals that 40 per cent of households live in substandard conditions

BANGKOK, 21st May 2009: Habitat for Humanity is calling for governments to overhaul housing policies after the release of its poverty housing report revealed that 40 per cent of households in the Pacific Islands lack adequate shelter.


Some families in Fiji can only afford to live in shacks.


International volunteers with a Habitat family in Fiji after completing a build.

The Poverty Housing in the Developing Nations of the Pacific Islands report, which analyses housing in nine Pacific Island nations, has highlighted the need for dramatic change to overcome development challenges in the region.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Asia-Pacific Vice-President for Habitat for Humanity, Rick Hathaway, said: “Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to finding a solution to the housing crisis and putting an end to the cycle of poverty by establishing safe and affordable housing for all. We conducted this research as part of our ongoing commitment to create a housing model that makes a tangible difference and improves living standards for those in need.”

Hathaway called for immediate action from donors, aid agencies and governments and urged them to more closely collaborate to address the piecemeal approach to development.

He continued: “Many programs focus on providing selected services, usually water or sanitation, while ignoring other essential services and most importantly, the means by which to generate incomes. To make progress toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is crucial to take a holistic approach to deliver sustainable and cost effective solutions which incorporate better housing.”

Habitat is currently embarking on programs in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste to help families in need achieve home ownership and to date, has built nearly 2,000 homes. In 2007, Habitat also launched an emergency response program in the Solomon Islands following the tsunami and helped re-house over 600 people.

These programs help support the United Nations’ MDGs and the goal to reduce extreme poverty by focusing on community development, housing finance, disaster response, enterprise development and financial literacy, in addition to the provision of safe and affordable housing.

The findings of the report will now assist Habitat identify its priorities in the region as it extends its programs in the Pacific Islands.