Habitat for Humanity Philippines Advocates for Comprehensive Housing Solutions at 2nd Socialized Housing Summit

In a compelling narrative at the 2nd Socialized Housing Summit, Ms. Marilyn Estrellado of Habitat for Humanity Philippines shared insights into the transformative work of her organization in addressing the critical housing needs across the nation. Held at Ateneo de Manila University on March 18-19, 2024, and organized by ACSent and SEDPI, the summit served as a crucial platform for stakeholders to convene and deliberate on strategies for socialized housing.

Habitat for Humanity Philippines, with its 35-year legacy in the country, has been instrumental in sheltering over 150,000 families, reflecting its commitment to fostering communities and hope. Estrellado emphasized the multifaceted benefits of housing, which span health, sanitation, social cohesion, and the breaking of poverty cycles. Her experience underlines the significance of strategic and sustainable investment in housing to achieve broad developmental impacts.

The organization adopts a PEOPLE-CENTERED approach, encapsulating Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable, and Empowered (RISE) strategies, thus ensuring that housing initiatives are not merely about constructing buildings but about building resilient communities. Initiatives like the “Panday Buhay” Construction Skills Development Program underscore the importance of skill enhancement and economic resilience for construction workers, contributing to improved standards in the construction industry.

A pivotal aspect of Habitat for Humanity’s strategy involves People-Public-Private Partnerships (P4 Approach), which optimizes resources across financing models, cross-sector collaborations, and innovative solutions to make housing more affordable. Projects such as the Paknaan Housing Project and Humanity Ville Site 2 exemplify successful collaboration among government units, the private sector, and civil society, showcasing effective models of partnership.

Despite the strides made, challenges persist, including mismatches between housing priorities and the needs of low-income families, insufficient government funding, and environmental hazards. However, opportunities for enhancement are plentiful, with the potential to maximize partnerships, provide technical assistance to local government units, engage with the private sector, and collaborate with micro-financing institutions.

Estrellado also highlighted the organization’s shift towards a more integrated approach with the RISE program in 2018, addressing not just housing but also community development, disaster risk reduction, water, sanitation, and hygiene, and partnership development. This shift represents a holistic strategy to empower communities fully.

The presentation detailed various financing and partnership models that Habitat for Humanity employs, from balanced housing compliance and collaborations with the Social Housing Finance Corporation and Pag-IBIG, to community savings mobilization. These models are crucial for navigating the complex landscape of socialized housing and ensuring that projects are both sustainable and impactful.Estrellado concluded her presentation with a call to action, urging continued collaboration and innovation to address the housing sector’s challenges. She underscored the importance of not losing hope despite the difficulties, drawing on the history of housing advocacy in the Philippines as a source of inspiration.

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