Habitat for Humanity Hungary
Habitat's work in Hungary
Habitat for Humanity in Hungary
Habitat for Humanity has been serving families in Hungary since 1996. That year, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and more than 500 volunteers came to build 10 homes in a week in Vác. Since then, we have supported close to 2,500 families with innovative programs tailored to the local need.
The housing need in Hungary
About 33 percent of Hungary’s population is challenged by the threat of poverty and social marginalization. While the number of the poor grows constantly, incomes are further polarizing. Housing costs are an ever growing burden for families. Many of them lose their homes unable to pay for the expenses.
In recent times, there has been much debate on the issue of homelessness. The parliament has declared habitual residence in public places a violation, and although it was criticized heavily by international organizations and the Constitutional Court, sadly the legislation was not changed.
The housing conditions of Roma people in Hungary are significantly worse than the national average. Many are affected by residential segregation and the complete disintegration from non-Roma population, which leads to additional problems and the worsening of opportunities for housing.
How Habitat addresses the need
Our goal is to see everyone live in decent housing that allows them to live a healthy and active life. We provide direct help for many to achieve this. By providing cheap building materials, volunteer labor and trainings, we help families and communities make a difference in their housing conditions. We have also been working on advocacy for many years to achieve a fair and inclusive housing policy.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Hungary:
- Housing first
Homeless shelters do not necessarily provide real solutions for homeless people living in public space to break out from homelessness. Our Housing First program prepares homeless people living on the streets to live a self-reliant life. The aim of the program is to enable homeless people move into and maintain their rented apartments, get employed and gradually reintegrate into society. We renovate empty municipality owned rental apartments partly with the help of volunteers. Those moving in are also supported by complex and intensive social work to help them keep their homes. The projects also serve as a basis for our advocacy work.
The aim of our advocacy work is achieve a fair and inclusive housing policy. Our suggestions are delivered to national and local decision-makers and NGOs, presented in national media, and initiate discussions to address these issues.
- HabitatPoint Resource Center
HFH Hungary provides cheap building material, tool rental and technical advice to families living in extreme poverty. We reward work done for the community: those who participate in another family’s project are granted extra discount from the price of building material. The program operates according to clearly defined rules to help the acquisition of financial planning, and also provides experience in decision-making, team work and construction skills.
- Annual report on housing poverty
HFH Hungary publishes annual reports on housing poverty in Hungary. The aim is to provide regular accounts on the status and trends in housing poverty, and to analyze annually how and to what extent each year’s policies have contributed to its reduction. Our aim is to elevate the issue of housing poverty into a proper position in public discourse, and to support the development of fair and inclusive housing policy.
Meet a Habitat family
Ferenc and Magdi never gave up their dream to have a home again. The couple has been together for 13 years, and they were homeless for 10 years. Ferenc lost his job due to an illness, and soon Magdi did, too. Their health issues made it very difficult for them to find permanent jobs, and their under-paid odd jobs, like collecting paper and glass waste, did not allow them to rent an apartment on the market. They ended up on the street. Occasionally they stayed at shelters, especially in the winter. They preferred living an independent life, so they lived mostly in tents or shacks. Habitat for Humanity Hungary’s Housing First program enabled them to move into a home, and pay a small rent they can afford. They are one of 9 homeless families who could move into a municipally owned rented apartment renovated by Habitat in 2014.
What you can do
You can help Hungarian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Hungary or lead your own. For more information go to: habitat.org/gv
Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 812200, HUNGARY on your checks sent to: Habitat for Humanity International, Attn: Affiliate Tithe, 121 Habitat St. Americus, GA 31709
To learn more about Habitat projects in Hungary or in other parts of the region, please contact us.
Michal Kruzliak, Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Main country facts: Joined NATO in 1999, joined EU in 2004
Population: 9.9 million
Urbanization: 69.5 percent live in cities
Life expectancy: 75 years
Unemployment rate: 10.5 percent
Population living below poverty line: 14 percent
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook – Hungary
When the program started: 1996
Families served: More than 2,400
Volunteers hosted: More than 2,500
Housing Solutions: Resource center and repairs, Renovating municipality owned rentals for homeless persons and families, Advocacy