Substandard housing, Bulgaria

The housing need

Europe, Middle East and Africa

Shelter is a primary need for all. At its most basic, it is just a roof and four walls where we are safe and dry. Habitat for Humanity believes that simple, decent shelter is a basic human right.

Europe, Middle East and Africa poverty housing facts

  • In Central Asia, half of the urban poor live in slum conditions.
  • In Hungary, over 1.2 million people live in overcrowded conditions.
  • In Kyrgyzstan, less than 20% of the rural population has access to running water in their homes.

The world is experiencing a global housing crisis. About 1.6 billion people globally live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless, according to the United Nations. If no serious action is taken, the United Nations reports that the number of slum dwellers worldwide will increase over the next 30 years to nearly 2 billion.

Impact of poverty housing

Poverty housing affects people’s health and well-being, their job prospects and ability to make a living. It locks people into a cycle of poverty.

It also holds children back from fulfilling their potential: children living in bad housing are more likely to suffer from serious health problems, to have learning difficulties and miss school and to face unemployment and poverty later in life.

The impact on children’s development is both immediate and long-term. Growing up in poor or overcrowded housing has been found to have a lasting impact on a child’s health and well-being throughout their life.

Breaking the cycle of poverty

Habitat for Humanity has shown that building homes does more than put a roof over someone’s head. In clean, decent, stable housing:

  • Families can provide stability for their children.
  • A family’s sense of dignity and pride grow.
  • Health, physical safety, and security improve.
  • Educational and job prospects increase.

Join Habitat

Habitat for Humanity has already helped almost two million people to have a simple, decent and affordable place to live. We work with volunteers and communities in need in almost 90 countries around the world. Join us in our efforts to eliminate poverty housing from the world!