Habitat for Humanity Argentina
Habitat's work in Argentina
Argentina News and Stories
Housing need in Argentina
In December 2001, Argentina suffered a severe economic collapse that left 50 percent of the population below the poverty line. Today, almost one-third of Argentinean families live in inadequate housing conditions. Some 90 percent of the population resides in urban zones. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Census for Argentina, severely overcrowded houses--those with over three people to a room--constitute over 8 percent of this urban population.
In Argentina, loan facilities for acquiring a house are very restricted, mainly because of the inflation processes that have affected the economy in the last decades. Many middle income families can no longer afford new homes. Meanwhile, in precarious neighborhoods where low-income families reside, some 3 million homes are in need of either replacement or rehabilitation, and 20 percent of the country lacks a convenient water source for cooking. (World Bank, 2006)
Habitat for Humanity Argentina
Habitat for Humanity Argentina was officially constituted as a Civil Association in 2002.
In 2003, Habitat Argentina initiated the project “Rebuilding Santa Fe One House at a Time”, to assist families affected by severe flooding in Santa Fe that year. In collaboration with a local university, construction began on March 1, 2004. Just one day later, the first foundations were laid in the city of Luján.
Habitat for Humanity Argentina has built in Buenos Aires, Luján, Santa Fe and Cañada de Gomez. The organization is currently building in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe. Habitat Argentina’s projects include: Seed houses, Incremental Improvements, Assisted Rentals, Financial literacy, Legal literacy and Little Bricks (for children).
Habitat for Humanity Argentina supports several initiatives, in addition to traditional construction.
Legal literacy: This project is an educational course that covers the various legal aspects related to the acquisition, legalization and protection of properties. The program helps families to navigate the multiple obstacles involved with legalizing their land, and educates them on the aspects of purchasing property within the legal system. Professional volunteers have assisted in workshop planning and leadership.
Financial education: This project is aimed at educating and accompanying partner families in the planning and administration of their home economy. 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 Argentina or other organizations.
Seed House: As opposed to a one-time brick-and-mortar solution, this is a process, by the end of which the family has a basic minimum construction and the ability to turn it into a full adequate home. Habitat Argentina provides a loan and technical support to build a bathroom, kitchen, living room and one room as well as the foundations laid for a further two rooms. But more than this, the process empowers and trains the family to be able to manage the construction of the full house beyond Habitat’s direct participation.
Incremental improvements: This project is designed to help two different groups of families: those who have a home that only needs an extension or an improvement, and those whose income is not enough for them to repay a loan. Habitat for Humanity Argentina provides small loans for incremental improvements as part of a long term plan to gradually help families acquire adequate housing (including title deeds to the land where applicable). This project is carried out in partnership with other organizations, which complement the work of Habitat Argentina.
Technical Assistance: is designed for families unable to access even a Habitat loan, or families who are in the process of building their own homes. By creating a bridge between available professionals and families in need, Habitat Argentina aims to improve the quality of the social production of housing—which is vibrant in most low income neighborhoods in Argentina.
Recycling Urban Homes:This project aims to recover abandoned or underused properties in southern Buenos Aires, turning them into housing solutions through fair rentals for the city’s most vulnerable populations. Many such families pay the equivalent of a market-rate rent to live in overcrowded and severely inadequate quarters in tenement houses, hotels and squatter set ups.
The Project “Recycling Urban Homes” considers rent to be part of the process of achieving adequate housing. Families are offered a “fair rent” situation in Habitat-built apartments, with a savings component. This helps them to step out of the vicious cycle of poverty by establishing a rental track-record and an investment for their future home.
Assisted rentals: This project acts as a bridge between property owners and families living in inadequate conditions such as poor-quality hotels or boarding houses. In order to rent housing in Buenos Aires, a family needs to own property within the city, or to otherwise obtain the guarantee of such a property, as well as to have a secure source of income. The assisted rentals project offers a rental alternative for families with sufficient, though informal, income and with no guarantee of property.
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean.