ATLANTA, Sept. 10 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Habitat for Humanity announced a new global, three-year, $7.5 million partnership with the Hilti Foundation. The partnership will focus on Habitat's MicroBuild Fund to help approximately 18,600 low-income families, or an estimated 93,000 individuals, access affordable financing and housing support services needed to improve their homes.
MicroBuild is part of Habitat's efforts to impact an increase in the amount of microfinancing available intentionally to finance incremental shelter for low-income households. Habitat seeks to increase the amount of microfinance loans for housing, from 2 percent to 10 percent, a shift that would represent almost $4 billion of investment in affordable shelter for nearly 15 million households. The average MicroBuild loan is $1,500 with a typical pay-back period of 24 months.
Funding from Hilti Foundation will help Habitat develop microfinance products, provide advisory services and social investment capital to microfinance partner institutions, and ultimately increase opportunities for families to improve their shelter using durable, affordable, appropriate and cost-effective methods. Funding also will enhance Habitat's Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance, which facilitates collaboration among public, private and third sector actors in the market to develop sustainable and innovative housing solutions for the 1.6 billion people worldwide who lack adequate shelter.
"For about 90 percent of poor families in the developing world, upgrading their housing is a process that they work on over many years as they gather the materials and resources they need," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International. "Many of these families have no access to affordable housing finance and no capital to improve their homes. Funding from the Hilti Foundation will help us change that."
According to the Economic Research Department of Rabobank, Nederland, roughly 4 billion people living in developing countries lack access to formal financial services. One of the most effective ways to improve housing conditions for these families is to provide access to financial services to build or upgrade their homes. These improvements may include installing concrete flooring in the place of dirt floors, adding a room to a house that is being built in stages or upgrading roofs to create adequate shelter from the elements.
"Developing sustainable housing solutions is a complex topic, and yet more relevant today than ever. Providing access to affordable financing and added services, such as technical assistance, play a crucial role in reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity perfectly connects to our vision of creating large-scale solutions which have a lasting and positive impact on societal development," said Bruno Walt, Managing Director, Hilti Foundation.
Hilti Foundation's support for Habitat began in July 2012 when the company announced plans for a donation of tools and funding to support Habitat for Humanity Japan's Solar Home Recovery Project, enabling disaster-affected families to save on utility costs and generate income by selling excess electricity to the regional utility provider. The project will assist 30-40 families and demonstrate to families across Japan the efficacy and affordability of solar power solutions
Hilti North American employees have helped build safe, decent and affordable homes in partnership with 13 families in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and one in Joplin, Missouri, since 2006. Hilti employees in Tulsa also partnered on Habitat's A Brush with Kindness project in Tulsa, completing work such as building wheelchair ramps, to painting houses and cleaning landscaping in partnership with low-income families. The company also has donated refurbished tools to Habitat affiliates across the United States.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International's vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 3 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates for fair and just housing policies and provides training and access to resources to help more families improve their shelter conditions. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To get more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit habitat.org.
About the Hilti Foundation
The Hilti Foundation, jointly financed by the Martin Hilti Family Trust and the Hilti Group, supports selected activities and projects around the world. Focus areas are affordable housing, community development, culture, disaster relief, education and social entrepreneurship. The Foundation's aspiration to responsible entrepreneurial action and to create a sustainable impact is clearly represented in all its commitments. The activities focus on encouraging innovative ideas and projects that benefit society and demand self-initiative and responsibility.
For more information please visit www.hiltifoundation.org.
SOURCE Habitat for Humanity