Historical initiative for 1 million safe homes

Anders Lago, chairman for HSB and Josefina Montoya from one of Manila’s slum districts. Photo: Marcus Lundstedt

In a joint action announced by the Swedish development organization We Effect in Quezon City today, government bodies, private builders and the civil society have come together in an historic agreement. The “1 Million Housing Project” aims at providing climate-resilient and gender-sensitive homes nationwide, to counter the 6,7 million housing backlog in the Philippines.

The project launched through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) among government agencies, private sector, and civil society organizations. For the first time in the Philippines, this project mobilizes different relevant and committed agencies to work together to realize the construction of houses for people in poverty. It aims to provide 1 million families with safe housing by 2030, and is aligned with the UN Sustainable goals.

Housing is a human right, we are proud and happy to launch this historical initiative today. We can solve the housing crisis in the Philippines, but we need to work together, the civil society, the private sector and the government, said Jessica Soto, Country Director for We Effect Philippines.

The project will aid in reducing the 6.7 housing needs in the Philippines, targeting informal settler families living in danger zones, that organize themselves in housing cooperatives with support from We Effect, government bodies and the private sector. The project also aims at promoting the right to city where people can access schools, markets, basic services, and other facilities.

“Nearly 7 million people lack adequate housing in the Philippines, many live without safe walls and a door to lock, poor water and sanitary solution. We are proud to be part of this project to address these problems. We have done this journey in Sweden, and we can do it here. But we need to work together, the municipalities, the private sector, the government, and the civil society“, said Anders Lago, member of We Effect’s global board, president of HSB, Sweden’s cooperative largest housing company, and present at the signing today.

The initiative builds on a unique model called “People, Private and Public Partnership (PPPP)”, to provide safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable socialized housing for 1 million families all over the Philippines. The signing parties are: Department of Settlement and Urban Development, Quezon City Government, National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HMDF), Socialized Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers Inc. (OSHDP), and We Effect.

To-date, public offices such as HMDF, SHFC, and NHMFC have committed to help in the financing scheme. Meanwhile, OSHDP and Center for Housing and Independent Research Synergies (CHAIRS) are willing to provide services for the housing construction and to conduct any needed studies for this project.

The initiative advocates that adequate housing is a human right that all sectors of society –especially the vulnerable who live in rural and urban areas – must sustain to live in a peaceful and comfortable community. The project also promotes the seven elements for socialized housing adopted in 1991 by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The seven elements are (1) legal security of tenure; (2) availability of services and facilities; (3) affordability; (4) habitability; (5) accessibility; (6) location; and (7) cultural adequacy.

For more information, contact We Effect, Frances Garcia, Communications Officer, 0936 882 9557, francesg1696@gmail.com.