Reports and articles

Lessons from Citi-Habitat Home Improvement Microsavings Program (.pdf)

This report explores the lessons from the Citi-Habitat Home Improvement Microsavings Pilot Program in the Philippines and Thailand. Understanding that financial services should meet the diverse needs, preferences, and capacities of low income families, Habitat wanted to explore the broadening of microsavings products for housing. In 2011, Habitat for Humanity and the Citi Foundation launched the Home Improvement Microsavings Program. The question driving the project: Could financial institutions provide savings products to help poor households build better and more efficiently?

2015 Housing Microfinance Survey (.pdf)

This report assesses the current state, trends and challenges of housing microfinance based on a 2014 survey of 48 financial institutions located across four regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The financial institutions that participated in the survey represent commercial banks, nonbanking financial companies, microfinance institutions, nongovernmental organizations, savings and loan companies, and cooperatives.

Results of Impact Study – Enlace (.pdf)

This report presents the social impact results at client level of housing microfinance products provided by Enlace in El Salvador. The study is based on an approach and a customized IT-based survey tool developed by Oxfam Novib. This approach involves obtaining impact information directly from end-clients and includes their perception of changes experienced in key dimensions of poverty.

Housing Microfinance Client Impact Study - LOK (.pdf)

This report presents the impact results of housing microfinance products provided by LOK MCF in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The study is based on a survey tool developed by Oxfam Novib, conducted among target group of randomly selected sample of clients (target group) and a control group. A positive impact was found on self-esteem and positive impacts were found for specific client segments on the livelihood and life and security indicators, and women’s empowerment. Contrary to expectations, no significant impact was found for clients’ health and for a specific client segment a negative impact was found on life evaluation.

Lessons from 11 Partnerships of Habitat for Humanity (.pdf)

This compendium of the four articles linked below is based on case studies from 11 microfinance institution partners of Habitat for Humanity and their experiences with housing microfinance. This document sums up the lessons that the Center has learned through these partnerships, in four categories: 1. Opportunities and Constraints for Housing Microfinance; 2. Housing Support Services: Do They Add Value to Housing Microfinance?; 3. Housing Microfinance Product Development: Key Factors for Success; and 4. Taking Housing Microfinance Products to Scale: Institutional Commitment and Capacity.

Inclusive finance for housing: Exploring viable business models (.pdf)

This paper discusses the challenges and opportunities in introducing housing microfinance and complementary services at scale. The study is based on analysis of grants issued by USAID to three global networks, including Habitat for Humanity in India. The paper discusses lessons learned through the implementation process of these grants, reviews the supply and demand constraints, and provides guidance to MFIs, donors, and policymakers seeking to implement housing microfinance programs.

Kenya Property Microinsurance Feasibility Study (.pdf)

This study is research commissioned by Habitat for Humanity International’s Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance to determine the market opportunity for property microinsurance in Kenya and explore product concepts and distribution opportunities through financial service providers. The goals were a comprehensive report that: 1. Provides recommendations to financial service providers that will lead to developing, pilot testing and up-scaling innovative property microinsurance products that meet the financial needs of low-income households on a commercially sustainable basis; and 2. Serves as a resource for other development and industry actors who are interested in increasing property microinsurance penetration in Kenya, offering recommendations to facilitators on how best tosupport distribution partners.

Uganda Market Mapping Report (.pdf)

This report summarizes the findings from a 2013 survey of the Ugandan low-income housing market conducted by the CISF. The purpose of the study is to deepen and strengthen understanding of Uganda’s low-income housing sector for financial service providers and other stakeholders in order to increase their ability to provide affordable products that promote access to housing for the low-income earning communities.

How Can Microfinance for Housing, Land and Infrastructure Catalyze Slum Improvements and New Settlements? (.pdf)

This paper, co-written by the Center’s Patrick Kelley, discusses slums in large cities in the developing world and the critical role that housing microfinance is playing in improving housing conditions for many of the slum’s marginalized households.

Removing Road Blocks to Housing Finance: New Findings from Latin America

Habitat for Humanity’s Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance undertook a study to determine the status of housing microfinance in Latin America. The purpose of the study was to identify key factors facilitating or restricting its growth. A summary of the findings were published on the Center for Financial Inclusion’s website. 

Microfinance for Housing in Africa’s Cities

Housing microfinance, although young and small in scope as compared to traditional microfinance services, is already demonstrating that its ability to adjust to unique financial capabilities and client cash flows make it a good fit for many Africans’ housing financing needs. Whether it is used for incremental house construction, renovation, land purchase or site improvement, housing microfinance services are on the rise.

The Role of Property and Shelter in Financial Inclusion

Patrick Kelley, Habitat for Humanity International’s director of international housing finance, talks about how many of the actors working to help households acquire and expand their property and shelter assets may not be clothed in the typical financial inclusion fashion. But, in the spirit of expanding the financial inclusion conversation, they have much to contribute.

Getting to Scale in Housing Microfinance

Read this joint study conducted by Accion and Habitat for Humanity International that covered 10 of Accion’s partners in Latin America, representing more than 90 percent of the Accion Network’s housing portfolio. The objective of this research was to learn about the key success factors as well as challenges and barriers for reaching scale in housing.

Microfinance to Mitigate Substandard Housing

The Center’s Patrick McAllister writes for the Center for Financial Inclusion. This article presents evidence that supports the claims that housing microfinance is good business for financial institutions and is an effective method for empowering the poor to incrementally improve their housing conditions.

Capitalizing Housing for the Poor: Findings from Five Focus Countries (.pdf)

This report seeks to inform the impact investment community, as well as the microfinance sector at large, about the opportunities and barriers for investment in the growth of housing microfinance. This paper is the result of both desk-based research and in-country investigations facilitated by Habitat for Humanity International on the housing finance “situation gap.” The study presents country-level trends in housing microfinance and the factors that may enable increased scale, impact and social investment.

Asia’s Poor Should be Helped to Save for a Better Home

Habitat’s Asia/Pacific Housing Finance director, Patrick McAllister, authored this op-ed for the South China Morning Post. According to McAllister, smart regulations, new technology and incentives are some of the ways to help low-income families save for a better home.