Solution to slums in sight through secure tenure


In the Asia-Pacific region, an estimated 120,000 more people flock into its cities every day, creating a demand for more than 20,000 new dwellings a day.

Many people arrive without the resources for adequate shelter and end up living in slums. An estimated 500 million people in the region live in these informal settlements. Housing, while affordable, is not safe, healthy or stable.

“Addressing security of tenure is critical to addressing urban slum housing, and offers a path toward more prosperous, safer and more equitable cities,” said Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity’s vice president, Asia-Pacific.

“Forcible slum clearance and involuntary relocation have been repeatedly demonstrated to fail and have far-reaching negative impacts. Our new issue paper spotlights examples of viable slum upgrading projects in Asia-Pacific, many of which took place in-situ. The key to success is putting communities in the driver’s seat and involving municipalities, professionals, the private sector and non-governmental organizations,” continued Hathaway.

On 3 September Habitat for Humanity will publicly release an issue paper, titled ‘From slums to sustainable communities: the transformative power of secure tenure’.

This new report will be presented as part of a roundtable discussion in Hong Kong, immediately preceding the 5th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum.

The Housing Forum is the Asia-Pacific region’s leading event for advocating for affordable housing solutions and decent shelter for low-income families. Taking place from 2 to 4 September, the event is held every two years, gathering together major actors engaged in developing and delivering sustainable solutions for poverty housing issues.

Speakers at the roundtable include:

  • John Fitzgerald, Chief Executive, Asia-Pacific, Urban Land Institute, Hong Kong
  • Matthias Helble, Research Fellow, Asian Development Bank Institute, Japan
  • Rajesh Krishnan, Founder and CEO, Brick Eagle, India
  • Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity, United States

In 2015 an expanded Housing Forum will include additional satellite events to be held simultaneously in two large urban centers – Delhi, India, and Manila, in the Philippines, alongside the main event in Hong Kong. Under the theme ‘Building Impact’, this year’s forum expects to engage over 1,000 leaders and experts in the field of affordable housing, ranging from policy-makers, entrepreneurs, private sector businesses, academics to civil society players.

The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum is timely, coming ahead of the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum, and Habitat III. Taking place in Ecuador next year, Habitat III is the bi-decennial United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. Habitat for Humanity has been elected to represent civil society in events leading up to, and at Habitat III, and will utilize the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum to gather input from the region.

A highlight of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum is the Wharton-Habitat for Humanity housing finance course.

The course, to be conducted in Hong Kong on 1-2 September, focuses on various aspects of housing finance for low-income families in the Asia-Pacific region – regulation, financing and delivering mortgage finance; non-mortgage housing finance models and pricing models; and the role and design of government subsidies.

The course is key for financial service providers that want to offer innovative housing finance solutions to low-income clients in Asia-Pacific.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a path out of poverty, since 1976 Habitat has helped more than 5 million people through home construction, rehabilitation and repairs and by increasing access to improved shelter through products and services. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. Habitat has supported an estimated 2 million individuals in the Asia-Pacific region, where it has been active since 1983. To get more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit or follow us at


Habitat For Humanity is also a partner to the SharingValueAsia initiative. Further details and links to reports may be found on their partner microsite.


For details of speakers, further information and registration details for the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum: