- When Habitat started in Ireland: 2002
- Families served in Ireland: 50
- Volunteers hosted in Ireland: More than 2,000
- Volunteers mobilized for global projects: More than 2,500
- Funds raised: More than €2 million
- Capital: Dublin
- Population: 4.95 million
- Urbanization: 63.2 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 80.8 years
- Unemployment rate: 8 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 8.2 percent
Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Ireland
Habitat for Humanity in Ireland
Early in 2001, a group of enthusiastic individuals and representatives of churches and housing organizations from Dublin got interested in Habitat’s fight against poverty housing. In June 2002, a core group headed to Durban, South Africa, for the Jimmy Carter Work Project in order to experience the work of Habitat for Humanity firsthand. Upon their return, they formed a steering board and started an affiliation process. At the end of 2002, Habitat International’s board of directors met in Belfast and approved Habitat Ireland as a national organization.
The housing need in Ireland
Affordability of housing is one of the biggest problems in Ireland, especially for low-income families. This problem has been worsened by the 2008 economic crisis and the rising price of housing, rent and utilities. Many families simply cannot afford to become homeowners.
How Habitat Ireland addresses the need in Ireland and around the world:
Local renovation program in Dublin
Habitat Ireland’s Irish based construction program seeks to partner with Dublin City Council and other charities to increase access to simple, decent housing for low-income families and vulnerable groups. Habitat Ireland partners with local organizations to renovate homes in partnership with low-income families in Dublin City Centre. Habitat Ireland’s local renovation program seeks to advance Habitat’s mission in Ireland by providing opportunities for low income-families to become first-time homeowners while engaging the Irish public as witnesses and ambassadors for simple, decent housing in their own community.
‘A Brush with Kindness’ Program in Dublin
The ‘A Brush with Kindness’ program sees Habitat Ireland partner with like-minded organizations to renovate or refurbish housing facilities for vulnerable groups. In the current economic climate, charities are being squeezed more than ever. As resources diminish, the need for the services they provide are at an all-time high. This initiative enables Habitat Ireland’s partners to increase their capacity to deliver their services while Habitat works towards a vision of creating a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
The Global Village program is Habitat Ireland’s international volunteer program that engages members of the Irish public to travel overseas to volunteer on Habitat projects for 1-2 weeks. The trip is a unique, grassroots experience in which volunteers work alongside the future homeowners and are immersed in the local culture. Since 2002, more than 2,500 volunteers have travelled overseas with Habitat Ireland, raising €2 million for Habitat building projects overseas.
Since 2007, Habitat Ireland has partnered with Habitat Zambia on the implementation of an Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) project which is generously supported by Irish Aid and Irish Global Village volunteers whose donations have helped transform the lives of the families that Habitat work alongside. The overall aim of the project is to improve the lives of OVC and their caregivers through the provision of adequate housing, water and sanitation services, the attainment of land tenure rights, facilitation of livelihoods and an increased knowledge and understanding of the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Notable support is received for the Local Renovation program in Dublin from companies including Salesforce, AIB, JPMorgan, SanDisk, SAP and the Irish Medical Council. Corporate partnerships can take the form of direct financial support of local projects or corporate volunteering onsite in Dublin.
Meet a Habitat family supported by Irish volunteers
Before getting the keys to their new home, MD and Helena Rahman privately rented a small flat in Dublin with Helena’s mother. A very high percentage of their income went on rent and transport to get to work in the city centre. MD worked two jobs seven days a week to make ends meet. The couple were separated from Helena’s younger brother and sister who lived with another family member because of cramped conditions in the flat.
Since being accepted onto the programme, MD and Helena enthusiastically contributed to their ‘sweat equity’ by working on the renovation. Helena also managed to get a job to try and help the family qualify for the mortgage they needed to secure their new home.
Speaking to RTE news, Helena spoke about their experience: “We are excited that we can move in with all my family and I really have to thank Habitat for Humanity and Dublin City Council for this opportunity”.
After moving into the newly renovated house, MD spoke about their plans for the future: “We are planning to have a baby and this home will provide security for the next generation”.
What you can do
You can help families around the world improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips in Europe, Middle East and Africa or lead your own. For more information go to: habitat.org/gv
To learn more about Habitat Ireland and their work see the following: