Man standing in front of construction site smiling at camera while wearing a hard hat

About Habitat's Terwilliger Center

Building more equitable housing markets through innovation

The challenge

Despite burgeoning demand for affordable housing, low-income families around the world are largely underserved by housing markets. Shut out by the income requirements of the mortgage sector and unable to afford high-quality building materials and services, they build their homes incrementally, often with poor advice and substandard materials. While philanthropic efforts may help alleviate the pressing housing needs of some, McKinsey estimates that it will require an estimated US$16 trillion to close the affordable housing deficit, 80 percent of which must come from the private sector.

The opportunity

There is tremendous untapped potential – within both the demand and supply sides of housing markets – that if addressed could substantially improve housing availability and quality for low-income households. Through the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, Habitat for Humanity works in some of the most pivotal yet uncharted intervention points in housing markets piloting new approaches and making a business case where none exists.

Our approach

Through 250+ partnerships – with financial institutions, material manufacturers, retailers, academic and vocational institutes, design firms, media companies and civil society organizations – the Terwilliger Center is working to build more inclusive housing markets that better address the needs of low-income families.

Our program areas:

  • Housing Finance Systems.
  • Housing Technology and Entrepreneurship.
  • Construction Decisions and Practices.

Our impact


Map of where TCIS works with these countries highlighted: Albania Armenia Azerbaijan Bangladesh Bolivia Bosnia Bulgaria Cambodia Colombia Costa Rica Chile Dominican Republic East Timor Ecuador El-Salvador Ethiopia Egypt Georgia Ghana Guatemala Honduras India Indonesia Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kosovo Kyrgyzstan Lebanon Liberia Macedonia Madagascar Malaysia Malawi Mexico Moldova Mongolia Myanmar Nepal Nicaragua Nigeria Norway Panama Peru Philippines Romania Rwanda Singapore South Africa Sri Lanka Tajikistan Ta

Formally launched at UN-Habitat’s historic Habitat III conference in October 2016, the Terwilliger Center consolidates more than a decade of Habitat’s experience in housing innovation, finance and market systems development. Through the Terwilliger Center, Habitat for Humanity has:

  • Helped over 27.8 million people access improved housing through market systems approaches.
  • Unlocked US$7.9 billion in affordable housing finance.
  • Worked with more than 100 financial institutions, including partners in microfinance, insurance, mortgage refinancing and housing finance associations.
  • Catalyzed US$64 million in new business for firms serving the low-income segment.
  • Partnered with more than 250 local and multinational companies to test and scale new products and services.
  • Supported over 58,000 masons and artisans in improving their skills and gaining certifications by helping technical and vocational institutions make market-informed updates to their curricula and programs.

Our leadership team

Jacqueline Innocent
Senior Vice President – Integrated Programs

Roland Pearson
Vice President & Executive Director – Terwilliger Center

Scott Merrill
Senior Global Director – Market Systems and Entrepreneurship

Naeem Razwani
Senior Global Director – Housing Finance Systems

Jitendra Balani
Director – Housing Finance Program Design
Global Lead – MicroBuild

Jessan Catre
Country Director – Philippines

Lizan Kuster
Director – Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Global Lead – ShelterTech

Fernando Mendoza
Country Director – Mexico

Anoop Nambiar
Country Director ­– India

Jennifer Oomen
Director – Applied Innovation

Jane Otima
Regional Director – Africa

Meera Siva
Director – Shelter Venture Fund

Gema Stratico
Country Director – Peru


Our advisory board

J. Ronald Terwilliger – Chair

Patrick Canagasingham

Ariel Cano Cuevas

Cary Evert

Marja Hoek-Smit

Laura Hemrika

Alejandro Krell

Dhaval Monani

Tom Uhlman

Interested in working with us?

Open positions: consult Habitat for Humanity’s careers page.

Consultants: Send your CV to [email protected].

MicroBuild Fund

Directing investment capital to the housing sector is an important part of insuring that there is an adequate supply of housing products and related services in the market.

Learn more