Habitat for Humanity Hungary
We build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.
Habitat for Humanity around the world
The international non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Since then, the center of the organization has been in the US in Americus (Georgia), where the idea first bore fruit. Local farmer and Bible researcher Clarence Jordan elaborated the basic concept together with the founders. They came up with the model of community-based construction, that is, beneficiaries and volunteers working together at construction works, as well as building affordable homes with the power of the community and without a profit, which has been a central idea of Habitat ever since.
Based on the same principles, Habitat for Humanity is now present in more than 70 countries of the world, operating almost 1400 local organizations around the US. The aim of Habitat is to make dignified, healthy and affordable housing accessible to all. One of its primary tools is building affordable houses with the help of volunteers and the active participation of the beneficiary families. From their formation to the end of 2021, Habitat organizations have improved the housing situation of more than 39 million people worldwide.
The most significant housing problems of different countries vary, and so do their most efficient solutions. Therefore, Habitat-programs of the past decades have taken various forms as well. Besides building new houses, Habitat organizations around the world support those in need through renovating residential buildings, giving microloans, providing quick housing aid after catastrophes, providing access to drinking water, exploiting renewable energy sources, providing training and a multitude of other projects in order to make people capable of maintaining and renovating their own homes.
Another important field of Habitat’s activities is related to research and advocacy initiations, aimed at creating appropriate policies and technical solutions to the problems of people experiencing housing poverty.
We speak English! If you would like to have more information, we will be more than happy to hear from you.
You can contact us at [email protected].
Habitat for Humanity in Hungary
The number of people living in housing poverty in Hungary today is approximately three million. Such a significant issue may only be tackled through a wider cooperation and efficient housing policies. Our pilot projects and advocacy activities are designed to help people in Hungary in need of a decent home.
Since its foundation in 1996, Habitat for Humanity Hungary has built more than 150 houses, renovated nearly 800 homes, provided technical counselling to improve the housing of 700 families, carried out household management and other training programs with the participation of 1100 people, and thus, supported 2700 families altogether.
Besides our work on the field, we have been conducting research, policy analysis, drafting policy recommendations as well as engaging in advocacy activities in order to facilitate policies that can provide solutions for the complex problems of people living in housing poverty.
Our organization is considered unique among Hungarian civic organizations as well as housing organizations for its hybrid operation: we combine field projects with research and advocacy activities, achieving higher efficiency by the two areas complementing each other.
Besides its all-year-round programs, the organization often joins social initiatives such as building a workshop to employ people living with disabilities, renovating the roof of an elderly home, or giving construction advice to children’s homes.
The operation of Habitat for Humanity Hungary is based on the cooperation of diverse actors, including authorities, municipalities, NGOs, corporations and individuals. Our projects are developed as a model to demonstrate new ways and methods to solve housing problems. Since we are walking an uncharted path, there is no central resource coming from the government or else to finance our programs. We are thankful for the help coming from our corporate and individual donors and volunteers, enabling us to develop new, efficient ways of support, which we would not be able to fund without their contribution.
We are also grateful for the cooperation of our partner organizations: NGOs and social service providers who connect us with families and individuals in need of a decent home. They know their clients and inform them about the opportunities we provide, as well as tell us all the important details necessary to provide efficient help in a given situation. When developing policy recommendations for decision makers, we closely cooperate with our partner organizations, making the dialogue within the housing sector an important part of our advocacy work.
As we gain more insight and start new programs to provide help as efficient, quick and flexible as possible, we hope to involve ever more organizations and individuals through whom our activities can be multiplied around the country.
Volunteering is one of the basic values of Habitat and an invaluable part of our work. Based on the Habitat tradition, we build and renovate homes with the help of our volunteers, who are involved in an increasing variety of activities. Their work and support is essential to our renovation works, through which we make affordable housing accessible to families in need.
Besides Habitat and the volunteers themselves, this activity is also important for those receiving help. The joy of working together at the construction site and the kindness and helpfulness of volunteers is an empowering experience for them. Since 1996, Habitat for Humanity Hungary has worked together with several thousand national and international volunteers. Together we build homes, communities and hope.
Currently, we have two field programs focusing on construction, supporting the most exposed social groups suffering from housing problems.
In our Second Chance program, we cooperate with local municipalities of various districts in the capital city, Budapest, who provide with social rental apartments currently in bad condition. We renovate these apartments with the cooperation of local and international volunteer groups as well as the future tenants. After renovation, the homes are rented for low prices by families previously living in temporary shelters after losing their homes for various reasons.
In our other program named “Támasz” (Support), we provide help in smaller but vital housing issues all around Hungary. For example, we replace doors and windows, renovate one room or the roof, rewire the electric system, put up new tiles in the bathroom, etc. This special and targeted support may prevent a family crisis or an accident due to inappropriate electric or sewage systems in the homes.
Municipal cooperation with Újpest (VEKOP) – Together with the Municipality of Budapest 4th District Újpest and five other partners, we take part in a multi-year project named “VEKOP-6.2.1-15-2016-00001 – Újpest Gate Regional Renewal and Urban Rehabilitation Project”, which aims to significantly improve the living conditions of the residents in the impact area. The program started in 2018 and it includes the demolition of several buildings in poor condition, the renovation of 39 existing social rental apartments, and the establishment of 29 new social rental apartments. Habitat is involved in individual and community development and social work. Our social workers have been active in assessing the living conditions of the affected population through questionnaires and personal interviews, assisting them in their daily issues related to housing, cooperation with their neighbors and the wider community, handling paperwork, etc.
Advocacy and research
Annual report on housing poverty – Since 2012, Habitat for Humanity Hungary has compiled an annual report on the Hungarian housing poverty situation every year. The aim of the publication is to gather information and evaluate the developments of last year’s policies related to housing poverty, as well as to provide an insight into the main issues and tendencies of the year. The document is based on broad research and is drafted with the help of experts to inform the public and to provide reference for professionals and decision makers involved in housing related issues and policies. The annual report describes the major housing problems in Hungary, together with the tendencies of the last year and the efficiency of proposed or implemented solutions.
In the BlackFlat 3.0 proposal package, as a continuation of our previous campaigns and research, we present a detailed policy concept to improve the situation of those living in the private rental sector. We make suggestions regarding regulations and interventions that address the two most severe problems in the rental housing market: high rents and a lack of legal security. The instruments we are proposing aim at creating a fairer and more transparent private rental housing market. In the meantime, we kept in mind that the proposed changes need to be easily integrated into the current institutional-legal environment and would not impose a disproportionate financial burden on the state treasury.
Tackling energy poverty – Energy poverty has become a priority issue in the European Union in recent years, and it is especially significant in Central and Eastern Europe. This is due to the recognition that cross-cutting solutions across different fields of expertise are needed to mitigate the effects of both poverty and the climate crisis. We believe that good quality housing and affordable energy should not remain the privilege of the more affluent in our societies.
A household is said to be energy poor if it cannot afford a certain level of heating or other essential energy services needed for a decent quality of life. At least two-thirds of the country’s housing stock of 4.4 million dwellings are substandard in terms of energy-efficiency. The issue of energy poverty involves at least 1 million people around the country. Low-income families typically live in low-quality, more energy-intensive housing and lack the financial means to improve these circumstances. Therefore, external support and assistance is needed to combat energy poverty.
Energy poverty has been one of our organization’s priorities since 2016. We have been reporting on and researching energy poverty in Hungary and have a number of projects and campaigns that are closely related to the topic. These serve as a solid basis for further integrating energy efficiency and climate aspects into our work. We are also active members of the largest international energy poverty research network, ENGAGER.
We are already one of the strongest and most credible voices in the topic of energy poverty in Hungary and with the increased attention to and urgency of the climate crisis, we believe this area of work will become increasingly important. We aim to integrate more of our practical pilot projects to demonstrate energy efficiency solutions and continue related advocacy work.
Studies published by Habitat Hungary in English are available here.
Help Habitat Hungary’s work! Donate now!
Donate via bank transfer.
Account holder: Habitat Alapítvány
IBAN: HU47 1620 0106 1159 8936 0000 0000
SWIFT / BIC: HBWEHUHB
Bank: MagNet Magyar Közösségi Bank Zrt.
Bank transfer from Hungary:
Bank account number: 16200106-11598936-00000000
About donations in cash or in kind, please contact us at [email protected].
With your donation we can support even more families in need of a decent home!