Habitat for Humanity Colombia
Habitat's work in Colombia
Housing need in Colombia
Inadequate housing, overcrowding and insufficient utilities such as water and sanitation are all contributors to the housing problem in Colombia. More than 11.5 million homes in Colombia do not satisfactorily meet the basic necessities of the families that live in them. More than 40 percent of that figure represents inadequate housing and overcrowding, while another 20 percent demonstrates problems with public utilities. Likewise, 9.8 percent of the families suffering from poverty find themselves in this situation due to inadequate housing, and 10.6 percent due to inadequate utilities.
The rural housing deficit has increased in recent years, due to a lack of new programs. Colombia’s qualitative housing deficit (that is, houses that exist but are inadequate in their conditions) is currently in the vicinity of 900,000 units, out of which 200,000 are located in rural zones. That deficit has increased in the last five years, since the financing of possible solutions has become so difficult through typical lending institutions.
The housing shortage in Colombia prevents adequate sanitary conditions for many low-income families, so they erectcambuches or tin huts, without public services. This promotes disease, such as dengue, which arises from stagnant water due to a lack of sewers. Inadequate housing also affects children’s education; many cannot go to school because they lack a home that provides them with the stability required to enter an educational center. In addition, many school-age children are forced to work, in order to contribute something to the family’s income.
Habitat for Humanity in Colombia
Habitat for Humanity was established in Colombia in 1991, when a teacher from a rural school in Quimbaya, Quindío, became aware of the organization through a magazine article. Three years later, the construction of the first 28 houses began in the Los Cerezos de Quimbaya neighborhood.
Habitat for Humanity Colombia strives to become an alternative for low income families, helping families to build and improve their own homes. Habitat Colombia seeks support and partnership from government, the private sector and civil society—especially young people.
Habitat for Humanity Colombia has served more than 3,500 families through diverse housing solutions, and granted 2,300 loans for over 4 million dollars. Habitat has also helped more than 1,500 people through training on financial education and healthy housing. More than 20 municipalities and regions have been benefited with Habitat for Humanity Colombia’s projects.
Habitat for Humanity Colombia supports several initiatives, in addition to traditional home construction.
Ciudadela Sucre, Soacha: In Ciudadela Sucre, Soacha, 75% of the inhabitants live under the poverty line. The families themselves, using modest materials and construction techniques built most of the houses. Our project aims to improve existing houses and create public spaces and infrastructure for children and youth.
Suba, Bogotá: Suba is the district of Bogota receiving the highest number of victims of the armed conflict, especially afrodescendants. Together with these communities, we are designing participatory projects that will give them back their rights to housing, work and health. We´ll develop trainings focused on Healthy Housing and Family Finances in order to give people tools to improve their quality of life.
Hojas Anchas, Caldas: The agricultural sector in Colombia has weakened since the 90’s, creating a rural poverty up to 62%. This project seeks to design and implement a social business to diversify and improve the peasants’ income, by adapting their traditional countryside houses as productive guest houses.
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.
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean.