Habitat urges Congress to protect important programs and resources critical to international humanitarian and development programs, especially those critical for shelter and poverty reduction
ATLANTA (May 30, 2017) – The White House recently released its full fiscal year 2018 budget request, which proposes to eliminate a number of agencies and drastically reduce programs important to Habitat’s work globally and to people in need of shelter around the world. Most critically, the budget proposal includes the elimination of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which is an agency Habitat partners with to provide small loans to underserved families to improve their shelter. OPIC also is an agency that brings more money into the treasury annually than it spends.
Additionally, the budget includes funding reductions of more than 30 percent to all programs supporting global humanitarian and development assistance at USAID. Habitat has used these funds to support improving housing conditions around the world through a diverse set of programs, including incremental housing support services; basic services such as water and sanitation, security of tenure, resilient and sustainable construction; inclusionary financing; community development; and advocacy. Thankfully, the budget does include appropriate funding for the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
These vital programs allow Habitat and other organizations to empower families living in extremely poor conditions around the world, provide resources to reduce poverty, and support basic and emergency shelter in times of crisis.
Statement from Tjada McKenna, chief operating officer of Habitat for Humanity International:
Just as Habitat for Humanity has expressed serious concerns about the White House budget regarding programs in the United States, we also have a responsibility and obligation to stand up for the United States continuing to play a leadership role in supporting families most in need around the world.
For Habitat for Humanity, this is a moral issue, not simply a budgetary one. We will always be a strong and firm voice as we advocate for and partner with those among us who must be remembered, who must be allowed opportunity, who cannot be cast aside, and this includes the more than 1.6 billion people around the world in need of simple, decent housing.
Last year, Habitat for Humanity made a global commitment to increase access to housing for 40 million people by 2020 and set an aspirational target of helping over 200 million people improve their shelter conditions by 2036.
We must never forget that helping more families build and improve decent places to call home only serves to strengthen the fabric and economies of the cities and towns in which we all live and work. This is true not only here in the United States but all over the world. Habitat for Humanity strongly encourages Congress to fund these programs which are vital to U.S. national security, promoting U.S. economic interests and most importantly, helping to reduce poverty and house families in need globally.
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 more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner 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.