| May 5, 2023
One Year Report
Over the past 12 months, Habitat has served more than 35,000 people through a range of interventions, from emergency travel kits with items such as blankets and hygiene products to rental assistance, hotel vouchers, and the placement of refugees from Ukraine with host families in neighboring countries. In some cases, we have fully subsidized housing costs for families as they identify and secure employment. In other cases, we have furnished apartments with sofas, bed frames, mattresses, appliances, linen and other supplies to ensure comfort and habitability. And we have refurbished vacant buildings and spaces and provided upgrades to collective shelters to house larger numbers of refugees.
As we cross the war’s one-year threshold, we aim to apply our Pathways to Permanence approach for the first time inside Ukraine—where an estimated 140,000 residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed—while we continue to strengthen our response in neighboring countries. Providing housing support inside a war-torn area is always a bold step, but our commitment and our mission command no less of us. As a global leader in the housing sector, we are committed to supporting the short-, mid- and long-term housing needs of the Ukrainian people as they prepare to rebuild.
We are identifying, creating and sustaining reliable, reciprocal relationships with government officials, civil society actors and other stakeholders as we develop a high-impact, low-risk presence in Ukraine. An operational presence in-country and a nuanced understanding of the context there will add significant value as we position ourselves to be the partner of choice in housing sector reconstruction and in the design of affordable housing models.
Habitat for Humanity has been exploring partnerships inside Ukraine since September 2022. During this initial phase of our in-country intervention, we are working with partner organizations to supply resources and technical expertise for home repair and winterization upgrades. In addition, we are engaged in a series of initiatives aimed at helping Ukrainian municipalities design social or municipal housing models relevant to their unique context. Our interventions depend on the situation on the ground and may include:
- Direct home repairs and winterization upgrades: Light and medium repairs with a focus on thermal insulation, including glazing or replacing doors and windows and repairing damaged walls and roofs.
- Community infrastructure repairs: Small-scale community infrastructure such as public markets
- and open spaces or community centers that have been damaged in the war.
- Provision of locally made stoves: These stoves will help families heat their homes and cook.
- Information about and referrals to the government of Ukraine and related assistance programs: Our partners will maintain a referral directory and will inform individuals and families about recovery services available to them. The directory will help minimize service duplication.
- Energy-efficient modernization of multi-apartment buildings: Energy-efficient modernization of multi-apartment buildings, improving heating systems, reducing energy consumption by 20-30%, and creating a warm, comfortable basement shelter to provide cover during air raids.
- Housing sector reconstruction support: Leveraging our long-term expertise in housing and energy resilience in the region, we plan to engage in housing sector recovery and reconstruction in Ukraine, offering technical expertise where needed. A key strategic partnership in this is with the U.N. Economic Commission to Europe.
The scale and complexity of the Ukraine crisis and its impact on civilians requires a robust, multifaceted, multistakeholder response to support the efforts of the Ukrainian government. Habitat for Humanity is well-positioned to be a leader in the recovery of the housing sector by leveraging its experience in the region, including the proven ability to convene any number of partners and to design and implement any number of programs to serve the housing needs of individuals and families impacted by the war. Our teams in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Germany and Slovakia have been actively serving displaced people from Ukraine since the war began.
Through our Pathways to Permanence approach, we will continue to pursue a range of interventions that help meet the short-, mid- and long-term housing needs of refugees. This includes leading and supporting social rental programs; facilitating access to affordable midterm housing; coordinating and providing in-kind donations; providing energy-efficiency upgrades to apartments; and offering supportive services such as language classes, child care support and vocational training.
We will continue to advocate for legislative changes needed to clear the way for housing solutions, sharing knowledge and technical support with national governments and municipalities. And we will continue to engage with news media to raise awareness of the housing issues arising from the conflict in refugee-hosting countries. Following is a snapshot of some of those efforts from our national offices and partners in the region.
As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, Habitat for Humanity remains committed to helping affected families secure durable solutions to their housing needs, whether in neighboring countries or inside Ukraine itself. We will continue to mobilize resources and partners, influence housing markets at the national and municipal levels, and lead in the housing sector. By designing and implementing these innovative and impactful programs, we will help families recover. We are and will remain focused on meeting families where they are on their path to recovery.
Visit habitat.org/emea/ukraine-crisis to learn more about our efforts to help refugees from Ukraine.Attachments: