- When Habitat started in Northern Ireland: 1994
- Families served locally: 100 through new builds, 16 through repairs, thousands supported through Habitat ReStore
- Volunteers engaged: More than 28,000
- Funds raised for global mission: £3 million
- Population: 1.8 million
- Housing: 40,000 people are on the social housing waiting list
- Segregation: 92% of social housing remains single identity
Habitat for Humanity in Northern Ireland
Since 1994, Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland’s local work has focused on reconciliation and building strong, vibrant communities in which everyone can reach their full potential. More than 28,000 volunteers from across Northern Ireland have engaged in practical projects, locally and globally, which break down barriers and help build a shared future. Habitat NI also raises funds for the global mission, focusing support on long-term partnership programs which offer families a hand-up out of poverty through simple, decent housing.
The housing need in Northern Ireland
Housing affordability, empty homes, social exclusion and the legacy of conflict are key issues facing deprived communities and vulnerable people in Northern Ireland. Almost 40,000 people are on the social housing waiting list and more than 92 percent of social housing remains single identity. In poverty, division is absolute.
Habitat projects in Northern Ireland and around the world
Building Strong Communities
Peace-building remains at the heart of the strategy locally. Habitat NI has developed innovative partnerships with other organizations to address key issues facing deprived communities and vulnerable groups. It brings to these partnerships 21 years’ experience in community building, construction, and volunteer engagement to support community regeneration. 16 empty homes have recently been brought back to life in partnership with Helm Housing, providing new rental homes and a brighter future for local people.
Habitat NI’s international partnerships focus on strategic themes of peacebuilding, disaster response and mitigation, vulnerable groups and the impacts of urbanization. These partnerships support Habitat’s every day work in Romania, Poland, India, Nepal, and Cambodia. The Ethiopia Partnership is Habitat NI’s most significant international partnership. Since 2005, thanks to the generosity and compassion of people from across Northern Ireland, more than £500,000 has been raised to transform the lives of 6,000 people in Ethiopia’s most vulnerable communities. Over the next two years the partnership will support Habitat Ethiopia’s painstaking work in the slums of Addis Ababa. Improvements, such as home renovations and the installation of community water and sanitation facilities, make a world of difference to families in need.
Europe’s first Habitat ReStore has delivered real impacts for the local community. The low-cost DIY store sells donated new and used building supplies and home improvement materials at 50-75 percent of the normal retail price. As well as raising funds for our work around the world, the store enables local people to improve their homes for less, provides opportunities for volunteers from different abilities and backgrounds, and diverts tons of reusable waste from landfill.
Habitat ReStore has developed a number of key corporate partnerships. Companies such as QMAC Construction, Murdock Builders Merchants, Creagh Concrete, JP Corry, T&A Kernoghan, Braidwater Construction, and Weber Saint Gobain, ensure there is a steady stream of quality stock in ReStore.
School and youth programs
In Northern Ireland, less than 7 percent of children attend integrated education. Every year Habitat NI’s schools and youth programs provide meaningful opportunities for 500 young people to come together to explore social justice issues and develop new skills. Interactive workshops, working onsite and a fundraising challenge, encourage young people to become agents of change in their own community, helping build a shared future for all.
The powerful, prayerful support of many church partners has underpinned Habitat NI’s work since 1994. In a place where religion so often divides, Habitat provides local and global opportunities to put faith in action and serve others as an individual, congregation or in partnership with other churches. As an inclusive organization, Habitat welcomes people of all faiths and none to engage in its mission.
Meet a Habitat volunteer
Volunteers are the hands, hearts and voices of Habitat’s work. Over 5,000 volunteers from Northern Ireland have travelled through the Global Village program to support the work that goes on everyday beside communities in need. Alan Brown has travelled on Global Village trips from Poland to El Salvador. Motivated by these experiences, he is also a member of the special group of people who commit to support Habitat’s work over the long-term by donating every month.
“During Global Village trips, I’ve seen the difference a small amount of money can make and how Habitat keeps the cost low while ensuring quality. Every bit helps. It is one thing to travel but the need is ongoing; 1.6 billion people do not have a decent place to call home. By giving a little every month I can support Habitat’s ongoing work.” — Alan Brown, Habitat NI supporter
What you can do
You can donate, volunteer or tithe to help build strong communities.