Partnering with housing organizations -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Partnering with housing organizations

By Steve Little

One of the mandates of Habitat for Humanity’s strategic plan is to increase the number of families served through partnerships. As we investigate potential partner organizations and explore ways of working together with them, we discover many new ideas.

But at the same time, we see some of the same ideas Habitat for Humanity’s leadership has preached since our movement’s inception — family participation, community empowerment, house repayments, etc. As we form relationships with other organizations, we realize that in spite of our differences we have a lot in common with other housing organizations.

Habitat for Humanity signed its first national-level covenant with the Swedish Cooperative Center in 2004 in Honduras, and a regional covenant in 2006. We currently are developing initiatives in Honduras and Nicaragua, and will soon include Guatemala.

Habitat for Humanity’s traditional message has always stressed individual home ownership. Housing cooperatives — ownership of property by an organization of homeowners, as opposed to individuals — may be seen by some as a significant step away from our historic message.

But as our colleagues from the Swedish Cooperative Center state in the accompanying article, cooperative housing may offer solutions to some of the problems encountered while developing housing programs in an urban setting.

For more information on the Swedish Cooperative Center, please visit www.sccportal.org/americalatina.

Steve Little is director of Public Awareness for HFH LA/C.