Habitat for Humanity International and UN-Habitat renew partnership to address need for affordable housing around the world

Partnership will focus on COVID-19’s global impact, intersection of housing and health, climate change, and sustainable development goals

ATLANTA, Georgia, USA, and NAIROBI, Kenya (Oct. 12, 2021) — As the world strives to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, calls to make safe and affordable housing a priority in local and national social and economic recovery efforts are growing. Understanding the critical role home plays in the lives of families around the world, Habitat for Humanity International and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme recently renewed their long-standing partnership to collaborate and promote the global need for affordable housing.

Over the next five years, the two organizations will work together to support the development and implementation of sustainable and affordable housing programs globally. This will include sharing innovative practices and knowledge through training and education, joint advocacy and communication efforts, and raising awareness and support of policies as they relate to issue areas such as COVID-19’s impact on informal settlements and economies, global climate change adaptation, health and housing, and sustainable development. The organizations will also provide enhanced support to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a multitude of inequities in vulnerable communities around the world, including the need for safe, decent and affordable housing. It also emphasized the important role a decent home plays in the health and well-being of families,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Our continued partnership with UN-Habitat will enhance our collective efforts in bringing knowledge and awareness of the housing needs of families and communities around the world.”

“Since its foundation, UN-Habitat has worked to promote the realization of the right to adequate housing for all as one of the transformative forces that can lead the world to overcome challenges related to climate change, poverty, exclusion and inequality. Housing is not only a human right on its own, but also a precondition for the enjoyment of many other fundamental rights, human dignity and overall well-being. The COVID-19 crisis has reminded us of this in the most acute manner,” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat. “In signing this ‘Memorandum of Action,’ UN-Habitat and Habitat for Humanity jointly recognize and are aligned in addressing adequate housing as a critical priority, especially in light of COVID-19 recovery efforts.”  

Habitat for Humanity and UN-Habitat have worked closely together since 1976, when both organizations were founded. Throughout their relationship, the two organizations have co-sponsored and coordinated several global and regional housing forums to share knowledge of housing innovation strategies. The organizations entered into a formal partnership in 2014 to address global poverty and promote sustainable cities and human settlements through social, economic, cultural and environmental efforts.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in southern Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has 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.

About UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries supporting people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future. A significant part of its work relates to responding to natural and man-made crises and on building back in a greener, safer and in a more resilient and inclusive way. Working with governments and local partners, its high-impact projects combine world-class expertise and local knowledge to deliver timely and targeted solutions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated sustainable development goal on cities, SDG 11, to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.