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U.S. international policy priorities -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

U.S. international policy priorities

In addition to working in 1,500 communities in the United States, Habitat operates in more than 80 countries worldwide, with 90 percent of our partner families located outside the United States. More than ever before, shelter is critically needed throughout the rapidly urbanizing world and is indispensible for the success of our nation’s investments in global health, education, and employment.

Housing for Haiti

Habitat has worked in Haiti for more than 26 years and has increased its efforts to respond to the earthquake in January 2010. Two years later, thousands continue to live in “tent cities” with few alternative shelter options available. Significant gaps in funding also remain.

Habitat recommends setting aside portions of future Haiti appropriations to address the ongoing shelter challenges of the disaster affected population, including efforts that support permanent housing, rubble removal, and community-based land tenure solutions.

Reforming foreign assistance for housing and urbanization

The lack of focus in recent years on shelter and urban issues by the United States Agency for International Development has created substantial gaps in U.S. international development policy. There is currently no comprehensive strategy to address the rapid growth of informal settlements or prepare for the economic, social, and security implications that slums have.

Habitat supported two bills related to urbanization in 111th Congress: The Shelter Land and Urban Management Act (HR 1702) in the House and the Sustainable Urban Development Act (S 3229) in the Senate. Both bills directed USAID to develop a strategy that fosters sustainable urban development in low income countries around the world.

Habitat requests support for similar legislation addressing urbanization, including adequate housing, land tenure, water and sanitation.