Habitat: International development finance can have a “double bottom line”

In testimony to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Habitat urges support of International Development Finance Corporation

ATLANTA (May 10, 2018) – Habitat for Humanity International is offering its support to an international development finance reform proposal that would expand and improve opportunities for impact investing around the world. In supporting the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development, or BUILD Act, Habitat drew on its own experience serving more than half a million people through its MicroBuild Fund since 2012.

“Habitat believes modern development finance can achieve a double bottom line—creating profit and ensuring positive social impact for individuals, families and communities globally,” the organization wrote in testimony submitted today to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. “Our belief in impact investing has resulted in the creation of investments that build inclusive economies and expand participation of low-income people as economically productive citizens.”

Habitat for Humanity established the $100 million MicroBuild Fund in 2012 as the first microfinance investment fund dedicated to helping low-income families secure and improve housing. The fund was established with participation from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC, the federal agency that currently oversees development finance in the United States.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing today to discuss the bipartisan legislation. The bill aims to mobilize capital to support broad-based economic growth and poverty reduction. Habitat appreciates the leadership of the lead co-sponsors on the legislation, Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Chris Coons, D-Del. Habitat is pleased the committee is holding a hearing on the subject and encourages leadership provide time for the full Senate to consider the legislation this year. 

In its testimony, Habitat proposed several improvements to the bill which would prioritize impact investment, further encourage non-governmental organizations like Habitat to use development finance, and broaden opportunities to scale successful investments.

The full testimony as submitted to the committee is available here.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.