Habitat for Humanity Australia
Habitat's work in Australia
Australia News and Stories
Habitat for Humanity started work in Australia in 1998. Habitat builds homes with low-income families in the states of Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. HFH Australia also favors international projects that deliver complete housing solutions and which incorporate poverty-alleviation measures. Key components incorporate improving health and hygiene, education, access to water and sanitation facilities as well as training people to earn a living. In early 2010, HFH Australia achieved AusAID accreditation which will provide access to official government funding over the coming years.
How Habitat for Humanity works
One in ten Australian households are in housing stress, paying more than 30 percent of their income in housing costs, according to a local lobby group. In the past decade, Australian house prices have risen by 147 percent while incomes have gone up by only 57 percent, said Australians for Affordable Housing. In the last five years, rents have increased at twice the rate of inflation. On any given night over 105,000 people in Australia are homeless, said the group, a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organizations. The supply of affordable housing can be affected by planning, regulatory and financial barriers, said a national research organization. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute has identified the not-for-profit sector as an institutional vehicle for increasing and managing affordable housing.
How Habitat for Humanity works
Habitat for Humanity partners with Australian families who need simple, decent and affordable homes. Using the traditional cost-effective and sustainable Habitat model, homes are constructed using as much volunteer labor and donated materials as possible. Donations of land, financial resources and labor are sought from governments, businesses, churches, non-government organizations, public bodies, multilateral organizations and individuals. Partner families must invest 500 hours of “sweat equity”, or their own labor, in the construction. Their mortgage loan repayments help to build more homes for more families. To date, Habitat has helped about 100 families achieve the Australian dream of home ownership.
Local building program
HFH Australia runs its domestic program through state affiliates spread across the country. Each affiliate has one or more chapters which deliver the program at a local level. The average Habitat home in Australia is 100 sq. m. in size and is typically a timber frame structure fitted with wall cladding and concrete or timber floors. It takes approximately six to nine months to complete a house. In New South Wales, the Habitat affiliate is involved in a significant initiative with the state government to build affordable homes with low-income families in the suburb of Bidwill. In Queensland, Habitat is rebuilding homes after a series of floods badly affected the state in December 2010 and January 2011. This is HFH Australia’s second disaster response following the February 2009 bushfires in Victoria. In both states, Habitat helps affected families under its “Brush with Kindness” program which mobilizes teams of volunteers to undertake minor works such as making repairs, painting and landscaping. Habitat will undertake its largest project in Victoria to date by building up to 25 houses for affected families to resettle close to their former homes
Supporting Habitat’s work overseas
HFH Australia is currently supporting projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. In the Asia-Pacific region, HFH Australia and its partners have improved the living conditions of 825 households; helped 839 families gain access to water and sanitation facilities; trained 2,643 community members in health awareness; and enabled 96 children to go to school for the first time in their lives. In addition, disaster-response activities have delivered 170,000 households with emergency food, water and shelter kits. In late May 2011, Habitat launched its “1,000 Homes for Hope” campaign at its first-ever fundraising gala dinner in Sydney. The campaign aims to transform the lives of 1,000 families in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, HFH Australia will support community-based initiatives such as water and sanitation facilities, and livelihood and educational opportunities.
Through its active Global Village program, HFH Australia sends over 400 volunteers each year to Habitat build sites in Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, India, Malaysia, Afghanistan and Vietnam to construct homes alongside Habitat home partners. In December 2011, about 70 Australian volunteers will travel to Long An province, Vietnam, for the Nine Dragons Build. The special event will be the second one organized in 2011. The Hand In Hand Build in March saw 100 women volunteers contribute financial resources, time and labor to help female-headed households build homes in Nepal.
HFH Australia receives funding and volunteer support from locally-based corporations, including foundation sponsor QBE LMI, an Australian mortgage insurance company; Arup, a British professional services firm; Santos, an Australian oil and gas exploration and production company; Solar Shop, an Australian solar energy provider; Origin Energy and Cement Australia. The Charitable Foundation and Communities for Communities also contribute considerable funding and development expertise.
- December 2011: HFH Australia’s Nine Dragons Build saw about 70 Australian volunteers build homes in Vietnam’s Long An province.
- October 2011: To mark World Habitat Day, HFH Australia hosted a high tea for major donors and corporate partners in Sydney and encouraged the guests to hold their own High Tea for Habitat during the month of October.
- September 2011: HFH Australia held a media launch during which it unveiled home partner research which showed the impact of a Habitat home in terms of sense of security, stability, health, education and employment. Visit ttp://www.habitat.org.au/document.doc?id=554
- June/July 2011: A volunteer on the Hand In Hand Build in Nepal orgnized photo exhibitions in aid of Habitat in Sydney and Melbourne. Another exhibition was later held in Singapore. The volunteer, Louise Cutler, won an honorable mention in 2011
- Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors’ Nehemiah Awards for outstanding volunteerism.
- May 2011: HFH Australia raised about A$65,000 (US$69,500) in sup- port of its “1,000 Homes for Hope” campaign which was launched during an inaugural gala dinner in Sydney.
- March 2011: About 100 women supporters of HFH Australia tra- veled to Nepal to build homes with female-headed ouseholds. The Hand In Hand Build also marked the centenary of International Women’s Day.
Population: 21,766, 711 (July 2011 est)
Area: 7,741,220 sq. km.
Ethnic groups: Caucasian 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and others 1%
Languages: English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6%, Greek 1.3%, Arabic 1.2%, Vietnamese 1%, other 8.2%, unspecified 5.7% (2006 census)
Religions: Catholic 25.8%, Anglican 18.7%, Uniting Church 5.7%, Presbyterian and Reformed 3%, Eastern Orthodox 2.7%, other Christian 7.9%, Buddhist 2.1%, Muslim 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 11.3%, none 18.7% (2006 census)
Literacy: 99% (2003 est.)
Urbanization: 89% (2008)
Access to Improved Water Sources: 100% (2008)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 100% (2008)
Sources: CIA World Factbook