I want to thank the UK housing sector – and together, think about the global housing crisis

30 years on from the creation of Reall, we want to thank the UK housing sector for their continued foresight and commitment to providing shelter for those who need it most.

Ian Shapiro, Chief Executive of Reall

Ian Shapiro, Chief Executive of Reall

14 May 2019

Global debates about affordable housing have changed over the last thirty years.  Back in 1987, not many of us could foresee the rapid, often unmanaged growth of cities that has accelerated the need for affordable homes. Some of the UK housing sector however were thinking ahead. This advocacy was part of why 1987 was recognised as the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless by the United Nations.

In the UK, the focus on the International Year of Shelter resulted in the creation of a trust to collect donations from housing associations for projects in developing countries. It was from this trust that in 1989 Reall, previously Homeless International, was formed.

30 years on and the international community owes the UK housing sector a debt of gratitude for your foresight. Over the last 30 years, Reall has reached over 3.5 million people and we’d like to thank you for catalysing these achievements. Yet, we know the challenge is far from over.

Over the last thirty years of learning, our efforts have resulted in 67 people a day benefitting from new housing services. Almost 1.3 million  people gaining security from the threat of eviction, over 450,000 people benefitting from improved water provision, and over 1.1 million  benefitting from improved sanitation services.

The 1987 International Year of Shelter identified the challenge. The UK housing sector allowed Reall to recognise this challenge as an opportunity. And the opportunity is huge. There are 1.6billion people on earth without adequate shelter, this is a global housing crisis that goes beyond the challenge we face in the UK. 50 affordable houses a minute are needed by 2030 if we are to meet the current global housing need.  But these homes will not only provide a shelter that is affordable and secure, they will accelerate the potential of their residents in many developing economies,  and help us globally to meet 16 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We know urbanisation is accelerating, especially in Africa and Asia. Urban population growth will result in 3 billion people needing new housing and basic infrastructure by 2030. If we are to make urbanisation work for people living on low incomes, we need to take the best ideas, adapt them to local contexts and demonstrate a viable, sustainable, commercial affordable homes model.

These are the issues we are relentlessly focusing on now. We thank the UK housing sector for their enthusiasm, dedication, and support for kickstarting 30 years of momentous achievement.  We need your energy and creativity as we step up the challenge to crowd in more resources into this crucial sector.

For further information on Reall’s current and future work, expressions of continued support and other partnerships enquiries please visit www.reall.net.

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