Today, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate shelter around the world; 1 billion of those live in informal settlements. More than 100 million people worldwide are homeless.
About one in four people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity and opportunities.
By 2030, UN-HABITAT estimates an additional 3 billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, will need access to housing. This translates into a demand for 96,150 new affordable units every day and 4,000 every hour.
By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population is projected to be living in urban areas, causing slums and unplanned settlements to swell.
Estimates of homelessness in the United States vary from 1.6 million to 3 million people. Most studies conclude that about one-third of the homeless are children.
The impact of adequate housing
Adequate shelter is a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty.
Adequate housing is vitally important to the health of the world’s economies, communities and populations.
Homeownership is a form of wealth accumulation through equity and forced savings from mortgage repayment.
Good housing attracts economic investment and development.
Decent shelter contributes to thriving school systems, community organizations and civic activism.
Safe homes and neighborhoods help to build social stability and security.
Policy needs and access to land
To succeed in eliminating poverty housing around the world in our lifetime, we must promote smart policies that advance access to adequate, affordable housing.
Lack of access to land is often at the heart of poverty housing; to build a shelter and make it a home, a family needs to know they have rights and won’t be evicted.
Access to land — meaning the laws about who owns and has rights to land — is one of the top priorities for the Habitat network. Removing current barriers to access would benefit millions of people around the world. Improvements would include greater gender equality, increased disaster resilience and decreased slum conditions.
Improving access to land can increase economic growth, address inequalities and reduce poverty.
Habitat for Humanity’s response
Every four minutes, Habitat serves a family in need of better housing.
Habitat has helped more than 4 million people since our founding in 1976.
Habitat works in about 1,500 communities in the United States, and in more than 70 countries worldwide, from Argentina to Zambia.
About 1 million volunteers work with Habitat every year worldwide.