Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response

by Habitat for Humanity International
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Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response
Habitat for Humanity: Ukrainian Refugee Response

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Habitat for Humanity teams has assisted displaced families with shelter and other emergency needs at Ukraine’s border with Romania and Hungary. We’ve been active in major cities such as Warsaw, Poland; Bucharest, Romania; and Budapest, Hungary. While we continue to support other vulnerable groups and communities in securing decent shelter, we have begun working with local and national governments to help refugees from Ukraine obtain mid- to long-term housing.

Habitat has been working with our partners to ensure refugees have a place to stay during their first days outside of Ukraine. We also meet emergency needs by providing travel backpacks, hygiene items and other essentials that help refugees on the move. In Poland, Habitat’s housing kiosk at one of Warsaw’s main transit stations helps refugees find accommodation in hostels and hotels, and with host families in cooperation with the government of Warsaw city. Habitat also supports refugees in Romania through stays in hotel rooms and serviced or furnished apartments. Habitat also provided 120 electric heaters in mobile camps at two of the main borders of Romania in Isaccea and Siret.

We provide refugees with accommodation for an average of two months with host families who have opened up their homes. With our support, refugees also can secure longer-term accommodation in subsidized rental apartments or upgraded dormitories. Through our Habitat ReStore in Poland and generous donors in Hungary, we supply donated furniture, bedding and household items. These are sent to refugee families supported by Habitat, available to host families at reduced prices, and distributed to multiple partner organizations, most of whom are operating dormitories or collective centers.

We are also lending our housing and construction expertise to increase the habitability of collective centers. In Romania’s capital, Bucharest, more than 200 refugees can cook and dine in dormitory rooms that Habitat has refurbished in the Technical University of Civil Engineering.

In Poland, Habitat is expanding a “social rental program” that we have run in Warsaw over the past four years. We are planning to start a similar program in the southern city of Gliwice. The rental program acts as a mediating agent, leasing units and then renting them at affordable rates to tenants who can’t afford the free-market rates. Habitat ensures that rents are paid and that units are returned in a condition no worse than at the beginning of the lease. Now we are tailoring the program for refugees, who will need a larger subsidy at the outset as they look for jobs and integrate into communities. In Romania, more than 80 refugees from Ukraine were able to stay in rental apartments for three to six months with Habitat’s support. Meanwhile, Habitat Germany has helped 26 refugee households sign rental agreements in a pilot project in the municipality of Overath that matches available housing units with the refugees’ needs.

Habitat Poland is offering housing and construction expertise to local governments and other partners through demonstration projects that refurbish empty spaces that can serve as housing for refugees and increase housing stock. Habitat aims to play a catalytic role in working with governments and the private sector to facilitate and advocate for mid- and long-term housing solutions that meet the refugees’ shelter needs. We also influence housing policies to eliminate barriers to increasing interim shelter solutions. For example, Habitat-commissioned research was cited by a group of over 150 people from the world of art and politics who petitioned the local government in Warsaw in March 2022 to convert empty spaces into accommodation for refugees from Ukraine. In Poland, Habitat successfully advocated for legislative changes to increase access to housing for people most in need, with a focus on social rental housing. The new legislation passed in 2021 will be applied to support refugees from Ukraine.

Looking ahead, Habitat is committed to helping refugees along a path to permanent, durable shelter, in keeping with our Pathways to Permanence approach and through the principle of meeting people where their needs are. Despite current efforts, there are not enough physical housing units to accommodate all the arriving refugees. This means refugees may have to stay longer in collective centers or seek accommodation in other locations. Habitat alone will not be able to provide all of the needed durable shelter, nor will any single organization or government. But there are opportunities to collaborate and create an impact by catalyzing public-private-people partnerships.


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The Habitat for Humanity Ukraine response is a long-term commitment to the shelter needs of the people impacted by the war, both in Ukraine and in neighboring countries.

Habitat for Humanity International leaders from across the organization gathered recently in Frankfurt, Germany, to review the organization’s results, challenges, and opportunities as we mark 150 days since the war began.  

To date, our response has leveraged our strong organizational experience and has further developed our ability to influence the scale and quality of shelter delivered by the sector and its partners. 

The Habitat for Humanity response supporting all the people of Ukraine enhances the position of Habitat as the leading and most influential affordable housing organization in the world.

Highlights of our emergency response so far includes:

  • More than 10,000 refugees supported with shelter services at the border
  • 2,800 emergency travels kits provided
  • 4,511 refugees provided with short-term accommodation
  • Border and train station shelter consultations provided to thousands of families on the move
  • Key civil society partnerships in place to support future waves of refugees fleeing Ukraine as the crisis endures (Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland)
  • 498 refugees provided with stable medium-term shelter (existing apartments)
  • 708 refugees benefitting from refurbished/vacant spaces
  • More than 14,000 refugees provided with household items through Warsaw Habitat ReStore
  • Staff trained and in place to support a growing list of units to refurbish and/or fill
  • HFH co-leading shelter cluster in Poland with UNHCR
  • More than 100 sector partnerships in place to support long-term shelter

Much of the impact listed above (Building Stability) is evolving into long-term shelter solutions for refugees. HFH is serving as shelter advisor to governments in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, and our Social Housing and empty spaces initiatives of HFH Poland accepted by Warsaw City government.

With your generous support, Habitat has raised $14,400,000 so far. And, although this is an impressive amount of support, the need is expected to continue--and even increase--as we head into the winter months and as the conflict continues within Ukraine.

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Organization Information

Habitat for Humanity International

Location: Americus, GA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Habitat_org
Project Leader:
Eva Zamarripa
Americus, GA United States
$2,347 raised of $200,000 goal
27 donations
$197,653 to go
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