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  • I N T E R N A T I O N A L A F F I L I A T E

    Vo l u m e X N o . X 2 0 0 1







    H a b i t a t f o r H u m a n i t y I n t e r n a t i o n a l2 0 0 4 : Vo l u m e 1 1 N u m b e r 2

    Innovations in ConstructionRENOVATIONS: A POSSIBLE URBAN SOLUTION? 3









    With which families in our community should we be partnering?

    How much can they afford to pay?

    What kind of a housing solution can we build for that amount?

    very affiliate should be asking itself these three ques-tions on a regular

    basis, and pushing itself to find less expensive housing solutions so that it can serve lower-income families in even more desperate hous-ing situations. If we dont help these families, who will?

    Yet somehow, there is often a tendency among Habitat enti-ties to gradually add features to a home, increase the size and use more expensive materials. (Youve heard the argument: But they were donated.) Other

    affiliates may not want to do the admittedly difficult work of finding a decent, low-cost hous-ing solution, but rather expect our partner families to come up with innovative ways to pay their mortgage.

    As a result, in 2000 the Europe and Central Asia area office set up a task force comprised of the area program director and rep-resentatives from three countries in the area. They developed the Simple, Decent and Affordable (SDA) Guidelines.

    The backbone of the SDA Guidelines is a process whereby an affiliate should first define its


    How Do We Know What to Build? by Debbie Wilber

    continued on page 2

    HFH Radauti completes the final stages of its first construction project in Romania.









    How Do We Know What to Build? by Debbie Wilber

  • Vo l ume 11 Numbe r 2 Internat iona l Af f i l i a te Update 2

    target families when our affiliates range in location from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to Ulan-Ude, Russia? Along the same lines, how can we standardize what is simple and decent?

    Our answer is to clarify a pro-cess through which each affiliate should travel prior to starting a new project. At each step in the process, key decisions need to be made. The final document will present these decisions, criteria for decision making and other resources. It thus becomes a man-agement tool kit, with limited numbers of standards built in which assure that we stick to our mission principles.

    The new document is intended as a guide along the path toward achieving our goal: eliminating poverty housing and homelessness from the face of the earth. Hopefully each affili-ate, upon evaluating its current program, will ask the three ques-tions raised at the beginning of this article and find new ways to serve those families who continue to suffer in unacceptable housing conditions.

    Debbie Wilber is the construction manager for HFH in Europe and Central Asia.

    Volume 11 Number 2The International Affiliate Update is published quarterly.

    EditorAnita Mellott

    Copy Editor Leigh Powell

    Graphic Designer Cynthia Friesen

    Portuguese TranslatorLigia Hougland

    Portuguese Copy EditorSimone Ramey

    Spanish TranslatorMontse Malmierca-Smith

    Spanish Copy EditorLaura VanDruff

    French Translator and Copy EditorFabienne Boulongne-Collier

    AdviserKaran Kennedy

    Editorial PolicyWe welcome the submission of articles, photos, news items and ideas for the International Affiliate Update. We reserve the right to print, edit or reject any items we receive, or to file materials for later use as space permits.

    Guidelines for the submission of articles are available.

    For distribution, contact Nancy Barnes: [email protected]

    For further details, contact: Anita E. Mellott, editor, International Affiliate Update, Habitat for Humanity International, 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709-3498, USA.fax: (229) 924-0577 e-mail: [email protected]

    I N T E R N A T I O N A LA F F I L I A T E

    I N T E R N A T I O N A LA F F I L I A T E

    target low-income families and how much those families can afford. Then they find a housing solution that is affordable for those families. Through effective project management, the affiliate builds the solution within the estimated cost.

    As a result of the guidelines and accompanying assessment tool, many of the affiliates in E/CA have redefined their target families

    and have significantly simplified their housing design.

    For example, the affiliate in Radauti, Romania, reduced con-struction costs on its second proj-ect by building duplexes in lieu of single homes and simplifying their entry design.

    In the E/CA area office, we are currently in the process of reviewing the guidelines with the aim of developing standards. Yet this has raised many challenges. How can we come up with a stan-dardized way to determine our

    Affordable for whom? Habitat partner families should have a family per capita income of less than 75 percent of the community average per capita income. No more than 40 percent of a familys monthly income should be spent on housing.

    Define simple, decent and healthy. The maximum square meter size of a house is defined, as well as other general house design criteria.

    Calculating house price. The final house cost charged to families should include the follow-ing elements: land costs, legal fees, construction materials, equipment, professional paid labor, delivery, architectural fees, miscellaneous site costs (such as storage, temporary toilets, etc.), construction supervisor, administration fee, infrastructure and taxes.

    Donated materials. The full cost of donated materials, services and land should be included in the house cost to assure sustainability and to protect the revolving fund.

    Inflation. Some adjustment must be made over the life of the mortgage to prevent inflation from devaluing the repayment to the Fund for Humanity.

    SDA Guidelines at a Glance

    Floor plans depict a simple, decent home in Radauti, Romania.

    How Do We Know What to Build?continued from page 1

  • Internat iona l Af f i l i a te Update Vo l ume 11 Numbe r 2 3

    necessitated a change in strat-egy. The price of bricks increased three times in two years, making new construction quite expensive. HFH Kyrgyzstan turned to renovations and has finished 36 apartments so far.

    The actual work consists of several stages. As part of prepara-tions, the construction team needs to remove old paint and wall-paper, scrape old whitewashing and clean the pipes. Sometimes pipes have to be replaced alto-gether. Then the team sands and glues the walls and ceilings, paints the window frames and installs the radiators. Finally, the team whitewashes the walls and lays the linoleum floors.

    HFH Kyrgyzstan found that renovations work well for them not only in terms of cutting costs but in saving time, too. It takes

    hen we talk about pov-erty housing in Europe

    and Central Asia, the pic-tures that come to mind are dilapidated urban housing or typical low-quality panel apartment blocs in the for-mer communist countries. Having a home in E/CA is more likely to mean living in an apartment than own-ing a house. Since many E/CA affiliates work in capi-tals or bigger cities, they are exploring innovative ways to tackle the problem of urban poverty housing. HFH Hungary and HFH Bulgaria, for instance, build multiple-family units to optimize the use of land, which is becom-ing increasingly expensive. Other affiliates have chosen to renovate existing apart-mentseach affiliate has its own particular motivation and different level of success in fulfilling the goals.

    HFH Beius, Romania: Reaching Out to Poorer FamiliesDuring the days of the Ceausescu regime, when working was manda-tory, the state brought unmarried people from the countryside and orphanages to work in a local factory in Beius. They were given substandard one-room apart-ments, no larger than 20 square meters, in one building that housed all non-married workers. On average, 50 people shared six decrepit toilets on each floor, while the roof of the fourth floor leaked all the way down to the second floor.

    HFH Beius bought and reno-vated all the apartments on the fourth floor of the building. The affiliate added a fifth floor and built a durable roof, creating alto-gether 25 new, decent homes. The idea behind the project was to reach even poorer people among those in need. We decided this project would help some orphans who cannot apply for a house because of the price. Another reason was the price of the land has grown so much and made the houses more expensive, says Stefan Miklo, the site manager.

    The project involved a lot of hard work. Volunteers had to remove 300 tons of insula-tion materials from the roof to make space for the new floor. Cleaning the basement was not easy eitherfoul-smelling, waste-deep sewage had been stagnating there for years. We recommend

    this project only to a strong affili-ate because it is a lot of work to do and everyone involved must have some experience, warns Miklo.

    The biggest challenge of all, however, turned out to be the attitude of non-Habitat families in the same building. They did not understand how Habitat for Humanity works and were envi-ous of fa