Habitat for Humanity announces Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action in support of 15 million people living in informal settlements

NEW YORK (Sept. 18, 2023) — Habitat for Humanity today announced a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to support 15 million people in slums and other informal settlements in gaining access to adequate housing by 2028 as part of a five-year campaign called Home Equals.

Habitat will work with communities, governments and partners around the world to fulfill the commitment — made at the CGI 2023 Meeting that commenced today in New York — by seeking policy changes at the local, national and global levels. In the face of global trends such as rapid urbanization and climate-induced migration, the number of people living in informal settlements has shot up to nearly 1.1 billion, according to UN figures released in July.

“People living in slums and other informal settlements have limited access to basic services such as clean water, lack rights to the land they live on, and are extremely vulnerable to climate change,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “We are at a critical moment in which residents of informal communities must have a strong voice in decision-making. When it comes to shaping the places we call home, all of us, no matter where we live, deserve to be treated as equals.”

Habitat’s commitment through the Home Equals campaign is to support policy and systems changes that level the playing field for at least 15 million residents of informal settlements. The campaign launched in May with the release a first-of-its-kind report with our research partner, the International Institute for Environment and Development, or IIED, modeling the benefits that would be realized – in terms of economic production, income, health and education — if people living in slums and other informal settlements gained access to adequate housing. The results were staggering. The researchers found that GDP and income per capita would increase by as much as 10.5% in some countries, and more than 730,000 lives would be saved each year globally — more than the number of deaths that would be prevented annually by eradicating malaria. As many as 41.6 million additional children, meanwhile, would be enrolled in school, according to the modeling. That’s one out of every six out-of-school children in the world.

The Home Equals campaign is active in more than 35 countries. In Brazil, Habitat for Humanity and our partners are working with the national government on housing and urban development programs to ensure residents of informal settlements have access to basic services such as water and sanitation. Habitat for Humanity Indonesia is working with local governments and other partners in finding funding resources for housing rehabilitation programs and advocating for improved land tenure rights for low-income families. Habitat for Humanity Uganda is pushing for increased government funding for low-cost housing in urban areas and large-scale improvement of basic services to informal settlements in the capital of Kampala. In North Macedonia, Habitat is partnering with Roma communities to ensure that they have a voice in municipal and national-level decision making.

At the global level, Habitat for Humanity is calling on G7 member states — a group of leading industrialized nations — to recognize housing as a critical lever for development progress and commit to addressing housing needs in informal settlements as a way to advance international development priorities in areas such as economic growth, health and education.

Note: The Home Equals campaign video is available to download or to watch on Habitat’s YouTube channel. Photos and video b-roll are available upon request.

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 south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, 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.

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Founded by President Bill Clinton in 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative is a community of doers representing a broad cross section of society and dedicated to the idea that we can accomplish more together than we can apart. Through CGI’s unique model, more than 9,000 organizations have launched more than 3,900 Commitments to Action — new, specific, and measurable projects and programs.