Great Britain -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Even though Britain has had a program of social housing since the end of World War II that has attempted to cater for the needs of low-income families, the demand has always exceeded supply. Today, there are more than 700,000 households in which there are people on the waiting list for social housing. Over a million houses in Britain are unfit to live in, and more than half a million families in Britain live in officially overcrowded housing.
Excessive demand for housing in urban property hotspots and rural areas has priced ordinary families out of areas where jobs and services are readily available. In other areas, house prices have plummeted, leaving estates where no-one can sell their homes and where no-one wants to live. Over 855,720 homes in Britain stand empty. Many are in terrible condition, in areas of high unemployment, high crime and no amenities.
The need is not so much the street homeless, as the “hidden homeless,” people living with a roof over their heads, in totally inadequate shelter. Overcrowding, damp, lack of decent amenities, and poor supply of services are all characteristics of poverty housing in Britain.
One of the biggest difficulties in providing decent homes that low-income families can afford is that because land is in short supply, it is very expensive in the UK. HFHGB is beginning the process of consultation to overcome this problem while continuing to build for greatest need first and creating appropriate solutions for various special needs.
Habitat in Great Britain
In 1993 Habitat for Humanity began development in Britain, the actual charity was registered in 1995. Since that time HFH GB has had a series of successes in both international resource development and a domestic building program.
Together with the program in the Netherlands, these two ECA donor countries are dedicated to funding Habitat's work throughout the world. HFH GB raised more than US$4.75 million in the year ending 30 June 2005 of which Asia/Pacific received 31.6%, ECA 29.7%, AME 26.1% and LAC 12.6%.
Domestically, two homes have been built in Banbury (1997), two homes in Eastbourne (2004) and sixteen new homes in Southwark (1999-2004). Additionally HFH Southwark formed a partnership with the Salvation Army to renovate eight housing units which are used as temporary accommodation for young single homeless people (2005).
HFH Southwark is currently investigating two projects (2006): a new build program called the ‘star of India’ project (11 units) and a second partnership with the Salvation Army (4 blocks of 16 bedrooms). HFH Liverpool has broken ground on their first building program within the Granby-Toxteth regeneration area. The site on Kingsley Road, which served as the backdrop to the 1981 riots, is a 32 new home development of affordable housing; the first three units are planned for completion in 2006.
In addition, HFH Great Britain has a very active Global Village program that started in 1994, and now sends teams to Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The newest innovation is a very successful corporate "Volunteer Challenge" program in which corporations and their staff commit to raise significant funds in support of a Global Village trip.