Habitat for Humanity partners with Catholic Relief Services to support people in war-torn Ukraine
ATLANTA (Feb. 23, 2023) — Habitat for Humanity International recently entered a partnership with Catholic Relief Services to support vulnerable, conflict-affected households in Ukraine, following Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.
The partnership between Habitat and CRS, an international nonprofit organization helping people and communities living in vulnerable situations to overcome emergencies, aims to provide housing repair services in rural parts of Kharkiv Oblast, an area adjacent to the former frontline of eastern Ukraine. Project work will be carried out through CRS’ local partners, Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Spes Ukraine, leveraging Caritas’ access and expertise in the region to support households that have received sporadic to no assistance.
Habitat for Humanity will provide repairs to damaged houses and apartments, as well as accessibility modifications for persons with disabilities, so that people in Ukraine can lead safe and dignified lives during the conflict. Habitat is also providing repair services for small-scale community-level infrastructure, such as kindergartens, markets or community centers, that are equally vital for the recovery of the communities where the home repairs are taking place.
“Even though the war is still going on, people in Ukraine are trying to live as normal as life as possible given the circumstances. We believe that by doing repairs, like fixing broken windows and roofs, we can help them live safely in their home,” said Federico Rota, head of programs for Moldova and Ukraine at CRS.
The start of the war one year ago has forced more than 13 million people from their homes, causing approximately US$40 billion in damage to Ukraine’s housing sector. It has displaced some 5 million people within the country. Over 8 million are living as refugees across Europe. The conflict has destroyed Ukraine’s infrastructure, decimated businesses and leveled homes.
“The scale and complexity of the Ukraine crisis and its impact on civilians requires a robust, multifaceted, multistakeholder response to support the efforts of the Ukrainian government,” said Rishana Haniffa, Ukraine regional response director at Habitat for Humanity International. “Habitat has been supporting displaced people from Ukraine in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Germany and Slovakia since the beginning of the war through a range of interventions to meet their short-, mid- and long-term housing needs. Our direct involvement in Ukraine is an expansion of the regional response, fully in line with our Pathways to Permanence approach, and a long-term commitment to shelter needs of the people impacted by the war in neighboring countries and in Ukraine.”
Habitat continues to leverage its pre-existing work in Ukraine, part of a European Union funded project in Odessa, to support energy-efficient modernization of multi-apartment buildings and upgrading of basements to serve as a haven during air raid warnings and bomb attacks, and support of a local volunteer organization from Kyiv, to produce and distribute solid fuel stoves to households in need in remote rural areas of Kharkiv.
Read more about Habitat’s response to the Ukraine crisis at habitat.org/emea/ukraine-crisis.
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 partner up 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 Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, we have expanded in size to reach more than 130 million people in more than 100 countries on five continents. For over 75 years, our mission has been to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. Although our mission is rooted in the Catholic faith, our operations serve people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity. Within the United States, CRS engages Catholics to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and suffering people of the world.