Habitat for Humanity calls for inclusive business solutions to solve the Philippine housing gap

As the country continues to grapple with the pandemic’s economic, social, and health impacts, the housing crisis continues to intensify due to COVID-19. To address this challenge, Habitat for Humanity is calling onto the private sector to help bridge this gap in the third series of the ‘BAHAYnihan: Rising Together through Housing’ forum on June 16 at 10 a.m.

Before the COVID-19 health crisis, the housing backlog was already at 6.7 million. 2040, it’s expected that the housing need of the Philippines will hit over 22 million. To close the gap, the housing sector needs to build 250,000 houses a year.

Making up this unserved segment are over three million low-income Filipinos who build their homes incrementally over decades but have no access to quality building materials, formal financing channels, and training and information on appropriate construction technologies. Unfortunately, many of them have lost their jobs and depleted funds set aside for housing during the pandemic. With the continuing threats of COVID-19and severe weather events, the need for safe and sturdy houses has never been more urgent.

The BAHAYnihan forum, organized in partnership with BusinessWorld Insights, aims to build awareness of the Philippines’ housing needs, with special attention to the unserved population and how the business sector can explore viable, inclusive, and mutually beneficial business solutions to help address the housing gap.

“Based on the research by the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Research and Communication, the unserved population is a market worth tapping into, due to its promising size and concentration in certain areas, which can provide the necessary economies of scale lucrative of the business sector to invest in while creating positive community and economic impact, “Jessan Catre, Country Lead for the Philippine Lab of Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, said.

Keynote Speaker Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development will present the accomplishments and interventions needed by the government.

Meanwhile, the panelists will be led by Cary Evert, former Hilti North America CEO and Board Member of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter Advisory Board; Horia Adrian, President, and CEO of Holcim Philippines; Noel “Toti” Cariño, President of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Associations, Inc. They will discuss the key drivers and barriers in the market and institutional environment that hinder or undermine private sector investments in affordable housing.

Also to be tackled are institutional reforms and capacity-building initiatives for greater private sector involvement in housing for the unserved market. Businesses will also learn about investment opportunities for private financing on socialized housing and owner-driven construction.

Over 150 key leaders in government, business, and civil society are expected to attend the forum. Interested participants may register at www.bit.ly/BWBahaynihan.