Current projects

Building Assets, Unlocking Access

Five years (August 2012-September 2017)

Funded by:
The Master Card Foundation


    1. Develop, validate and pilot scalable housing microfinance products at nine financial service providers across Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, and strengthen their institutional capacity to increase the potential of taking the housing microfinance product with housing support services to scale.
    2. Develop, validate and pilot scalable housing support services at nine financial service providers across Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.
    3. Demonstrate and document the impact of housing finance and housing support services on households and communities in areas such as health, education, greater base of assets and secure tenure; and on institutions’ performance through rigorous research.
    4. Disseminate practical knowledge on housing microfinance to other providers in Africa and for the broader industry, and influence the housing and finance industries.

The Center is overseeing the project and providing institutional technical assistance to the financial institutions engaged in the project to develop or refine housing microfinance products with housing support services (HSS). This will be done by conducting market mappings of the housing and finance sector, market research, product design, pilot planning and implementation of housing microfinance products with HSS. The Center is also providing support to financial institutions to increase their capacity to take those products to scale and the dissemination of the lessons, as well as overseeing the impact evaluation of the project on the lives of households that have received housing microfinance products with HSS throughout the life of the project.


Citi-Habitat Home Improvement Microsavings Pilot Program in Vietnam, Phillipines and Thailand

Photo courtesy of FGD-Edwina Payagpag

Three 1/2 years (August 2011-May 2015)

Funded by:
Citi Foundation

The Citi-Habitat Home Improvement Micro savings Pilot Program is an innovative three-year pilot project in disaster prone regions of Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand which aims to mobilize 3,000 low-income homeowners living in these areas to save a total of US$2 million to improve their homes.

The services provided by The Center include:

  • Training partner savings institutions in three countries to build their capacity to offer a micro savings commitment account to low-income savers.
  • Providing market research and product development services to partner institutions.
  • Developing financial education programs and complimentary technical assistance.


USAID Transforming Access to Housing Finance in India

Three years (August 2009-June 2013)- COMPLETED

Funded by:

In partnership with Development Innovations Group (DIG) and Opportunity International, Habitat for Humanity International will improve housing conditions of a range of clients, from the unbanked to the poor and very poor. This will be done by advancing learning in innovative housing microfinance products and appropriately designed and outsourced household-level in the area of construction technical assistance for the clients and households, while providing the capacity via institutional technical assistance to the implementing partners and MFI s keen on housing for the affordable segment. The objective is to develop and roll out a commercially viable loan product for the housing microfinance industry and disseminate lessons to develop a fee for service model.

Services rendered by The Center through the Technical Assistance Center in India include: Support on Market research, Product development, Construction technical Assistance, Capacity building of MFIs in housing microfinance industry, disseminate learning on CTA and ITA for a fee-based model.


IFC Housing Microfinance Toolkit for India

One year (March 2012-March 2013)- COMPLETED

International Finance Corporation, World Bank

The Center, Habitat for Humanity India and Vinod Kothari partnered to support financial institutions/MFIs interested in entering the housing microfinance market through the creation of an India Housing Microfinance Toolkit. This toolkit will build the capacity of financial institutions as well as service providers interested in entering the affordable housing microfinance market and includes topics such as market strategy, legal and regulatory environment, product development, internal systems, housing support services design and customer awareness for responsible lending.

The contract has included the development of the “India Toolkit for Low-income Housing Finance – A Practitioners’ Guide” that is going to be published by IFC, training of 15 MFIs, NBFCs and technical service providers using the Housing Microfinance Toolkit, as well as a session to raise stakeholder awareness on housing microfinance.


Social Rental Agencies in Hungary

One year (2012-13)

Funded by:
Open Society Institute Foundation

There is a severe lack of social rental housing in Hungary, which is largely the consequence of housing privatization. Currently there are 130,000 housing units in the public rental sector, which is less than 3 percent of the country’s housing stock. It is estimated there is a demand for another 300,000 units. At the same time, there are more than 500,000 units privately owned which are not used for habitation. The project makes a proposal on how to set up local social rental agencies, which mediate between the private landlords and the needy households, providing a guarantee for the landlords for regular rent payment and proper use of the rental unit and a priority access for the needy households to tenancies supplemented by rental allowance. This is an existing model in many Western European countries called social rental agency. Habitat for Humanity together with the housing think tank Metropolitan Research Institute is advocating to introduce this model in Hungary by making the necessary legal and policy changes and allocating funding from the central budget to set up such agencies and give housing allowance subsidies for families in need.

The services offered by The Center include:

  • To work out the framework for social rental agencies at local level in four municipalities with the active participation of the municipalities themselves (feasibility studies).
  • To work out the national level regulation and organizational system of social rental agencies (collection of national and international best practices, develop concept, develop complex legislation package both on local and national level).
  • To carry out advocacy work in a wider circle of municipalities and national level stakeholders in order to integrate such alternative social rental models into the housing policy in Hungary, such asworkshops, conferences, collation building, media campaigns, lobbying, etc.


Capacity Building for Housing Microfinance-Cambodia

Six months (February-November 2013)

Funded by:
Swiss Capacity Building Facility

The objective is for Habitat for Humanity Cambodia in consultation and collaboration with regional experts of Habitat’s Center for Innovation for Shelter and Finance to build the capacity of two microfinance institutions to provide scalable and sustainable housing microfinance products. Additionally, it would enable these MFIs to leverage $5 million from Habitat for Humanity International’s MicroBuild fund. This in turn could help these MFIs to provide housing finance and technical assistance for up to 20,000 families over the next three years.

Services offered by the Center include Cambodian Housing Microfinance toolkit development, market research, product development including Housing Support Services and staff training on the product developed.