Habitat for Humanity Poland
Habitat's work in Poland
Habitat for Humanity in Poland
Habitat for Humanity Poland has been operating since 1992. It was the first Habitat branch in Europe. We operate in Warsaw and Gliwice and so far we have helped over 1,300 families in Poland.
The housing need in Poland
There is a serious housing shortage with Poland having the lowest rate in Europe of number of homes for its population (1000:360), according to the national statistics. The deficit of housing units is between 600,000 and 1.5 million. Approximately 15 percent of the population lives in poverty housing, defined as a lack of roof overhead and/or living under substandard conditions (with no bathrooms and toilets, no central heating or technically unsafe buildings), and 44.8 percent of Poles are living in overcrowded conditions while the EU average stands at 17 percent (HFH Poland Housing Report 2015). The severe housing deprivation rate is high at 10.1 compared to 5.2 EU average (Housing Europe 2015). Poland ranks in the bottom third of OECD countries in terms of housing conditions for children (average rooms per child and children in homes that lack basic facilities). The average waiting period for social housing in Poland in large cities is between 2-7 years, and in smaller cities up to 20 years.
How Habitat addresses the need in Poland
Habitat for Humanity activities in Poland range from building new affordable houses, renovating condominium blocks and advocacy initiatives. Renovation projects have been completed throughout the country in partnership with homeowners’ associations and they involve both local and international volunteers as well as beneficiaries in their building work. Habitat Poland’s advocacy initiatives focus on achieving system changes within government policy that will benefit the most vulnerable. Currently Habitat Poland is advocating for legislative changes to increase access to housing for people most in need with a focus on social rental housing. They are also working to raise public awareness and mobilize the general public around the housing issue in Poland and pushing key debates such as fuel poverty, housing poverty and housing first into social and political spheres.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Poland:
Partnership to Build L’Arche Community House for People with Disabilities
The Warsaw branch of L’Arche Foundation has been granted the opportunity to purchase an old house located in Warsaw. Having secured the necessary funding, L’Arche wishes to enlarge and adapt the building into a supportive-housing home for the foundation´s 5 beneficiaries and 3 assistants. HFH Poland will act as a service-provider and construction project supervisor, expanding, renovating and adapting the building to meet the needs of L’Arche’s beneficiaries and formal requirements for this type of care facility.
- ‘Emergency Renovations of Social Flats in Warsaw’ Project
In the framework of a partnership with Procter & Gamble, Habitat Poland completed the renovation of individual apartments for three families in need, in the area of Targowek, Warsaw. 50% of renovation costs came from donor funds while the other 50% were contributed by the beneficiaries and held within Habitat’s revolving fund to assist future families. Habitat will be helping more families by providing electricity, gas and heating improvements to enhance the quality of living for the beneficiaries.
- A new model of social housing for young adults leaving foster care – ‘the Attic Project ’
There are approximately 80,000 young people in Poland living in foster care and most are not adequately prepared for autonomous life by the age of 18 and no specific supportive housing scheme is currently offered to them. As a result, many end up in homeless shelters or as social services clients. The ‘Attic’ project consists of seven flats that are being developed from an unused attic space within an apartment block. Decent and affordable conditions are offered to allow the young people to stay in the flats for the crucial 2-3 years as they embark on their autonomous lives after leaving institutional care. This project offers a model solution addressing the time gap issue created by the regular waiting lists for social housing. The building of the flats incorporates the young beneficiaries as well as international volunteers and local corporate volunteers.
Meet a Habitat family
Agnieszka, Andrzej and their three children (Angelika, 17; Adam, 12; and Laura, 5) moved to a social flat in November 2014, after many years of waiting. Even though the municipal authorities have covered the costs of replacing old windows and electrical repairs, the apartment’s floor, walls, and central heating had to be also repaired. Andrzej managed to replace the leaking central heating pipes. Agnieszka and Andrzej have also renovated the apartment’s living room and kitchen. However, further work was delayed due to insufficient funds. As a result, the family only uses 1 room in the apartment. HFH Poland helped with completing the renovation. The other two rooms were repaired, in addition to the bathroom, which also required urgent intervention. The entire family worked alongside HFH and the volunteers, helping with works on the flooring.
What you can do
You can help Polish families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Poland 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 813700, POLAND 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 Poland please contact us.
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Main country facts: Joined NATO in 1999, joined EU in 2004
Population: 38.56 million
Urbanization: 60.5 percent live in cities
Life expectancy: 77.4 years
Unemployment rate: 12.3 percent
Population living below poverty line: 10.6 percent
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook – Poland
When the program started: 1992
Families served: More than 1,300
Volunteers hosted: More than 2,00
Housing Solutions: Renovations and repairs, Energy-efficient homes, Condominium renovations, Vulnerable groups and advocacy