Hábitat para la Humanidad Chile
Habitat's work in Chile
Housing need in Chile
Chile is a highly urbanized country, with roughly 86 percent of its 16.4 million residents living in urban areas. In 2001, 9 percent of the urban population is considered to suffer slum conditions, up from 4 percent in 1990. (UNdata) This situation has been further worsened by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country on February 27, 2010.
Since 1906, Chile’s government has been involved in low-cost housing solutions, typically in the form of subsidies. In the 1970’s, the government made a drastic cut to the state spending on housing, resulting in a housing deficit that the country is still in efforts to overcome. In 1990, the Aylwin government increased funds for housing by 50% and made public housing programs more available to the low-income sectors in an attempt to freeze the existing deficit. (Rex A. Hudson ,ed. Chile: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1994)
Within this context, Habitat Chile’s principal success, and main source of funding, has been through ongoing partnerships with government programs. These partnerships combine established housing subsidies with Habitat’s technical assistance programs and creative housing solutions. With additional support and leadership from organizations such as Habitat, government housing and subsidy programs successfully encourage low-income sectors to obtain legal property through formal channels, creating a more secure foundation for each family’s future.
Habitat for Humanity in Chile
In 1998, a network of local residents and international stakeholders recognized the need for an organization that would address the challenges of inadequate housing conditions in Chile. Thanks to support from Habitat for Humanity International, the organization established official legal status in 2001, and by March of 2002 the first three homes were built in Caldera.
Habitat Chile has assisted over 3,500 families to obtain adequate housing. There are Habitat projects in each of the five regions of the country (Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Región Metropolitana, Maule, Bio Bio and Araucanía).
Habitat Chile through a variety of programs, deals with diverse housing deficiencies which are present in the country. In the realm of Social Management, Habitat Chile develops participatory construction programs and projects which help families who are living in highly precarious conditions, and who have to deal with special situations. These include: children with catastrophic illnesses or disabilities, elderly family members, matriarchal households, and natural disasters and emergencies.
Our Children Return Home: This project seeks to improve the homes of boys, girls and young people who suffer from catastrophic illnesses or who have special needs. It has come about due to the fact that many of these children living in hospitals and care centres could return to their homes if they were supplied with the basic living requirements. The objective of the program is to provide these basic living requirements so that these young boys and girls can live with their families in their own homes. As well as reducing their stay in hospitals and care centres, it increases their chances of recovery and rehabilitation.
Financial education: This project is aimed at educating and accompanying partner families in the planning and administration of their home economy. The manuals and methodology used are the result of a project designed by Habitat for Humanity International and financed by Citi Foundation. Through a series of workshops, families learn to administer their income and expenses, and learn to design a budget, analyze and control their expenses, and follow a savings plan. Families are also informed about the risks and advantages of taking out loans with Habitat for Humanity or other organizations.
Complete houses: In addition to the projects above, Habitat for Humanity Chile continues to build complete homes. Homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, helping to build their houses and the houses of others, together with volunteers. Their monthly payments go into a Local Rotating Fund, which allows the construction of new homes.
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean.