Press Release

MCC and Habitat for Humanity discuss the housing crisis no one is talking about

Expert panel says poverty reduction is tied to secure land rights

For Immediate Release

November 13, 2008

WASHINGTON   (Nov. 13, 2008)  Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Ambassador John Danilovich joined   Habitat for Humanity International Board Chair Ron Terwilliger today to host a   public forum discussing the importance of land tenure and how it affects global   poverty and economic development.

The   security of knowing that property rights are protected matters not only to   Americans, but also to individuals, families, and communities in the poorest   parts of the world. Having a place to call home, or a piece of land to farm, or   a place to start a business matters to the poor and non-poor alike, said   Danilovich. MCC is pleased to partner with Habitat for Humanity, a leader in   the fight to end global poverty, to discuss the importance of securing access to   land rights and tenure.

Secure   tenurethis freedom most of us take for grantedthe right to live without fear   of being thrown out of your house or off your land today or tomorrowis needed   to lessen the misery of 1.6 billion people living in substandard housing, added   Terwilliger.

Habitat   for Humanity is working to change that because of our continuing commitment to   working toward decent, affordable housing around the world.

Land   tenure experts who discussed the link between poverty reduction and secure land   tenure, include:

  • Karol   Boudreaux, senior research fellow, Mercatus Center.
  • Ted   Baumann, director, international programs, Habitat for Humanity International.
  • Jolyne   Sanjak, managing director, implementation support, MCC.

A   large percentage of individuals in the developing world have no legal   documentation of their property rights or the legal right to stay in their   homes. The absence of clear, enforceable rights is often a roadblock on the   pathway from poverty to prosperity for the worlds poor.

The   discussion today centered on creating efficient systems in which transparency   and good democratic governance protect property rights for all members of a   society. This means effective property laws, titling or other legal land   records, and reliable land transfer and registration services. Improving real   property rights systems will yield long-term dividends by enhancing the climate   for investment and finance in both urban and rural areas where market economics   is taking hold.

In   the global work of Habitat for Humanity we are acutely aware of the tremendous   barriers a lack of rights and tenure can present to stability and a sound   quality of life for poor individuals and families, said Jonathan Reckford, CEO   for Habitat for Humanity International. It is vital that through development   assistance and other appropriate channels, measurable goals are set and   resources are increased to support access to secure tenure.

The   Millennium Challenge Corporation, an innovative U.S. Government development   assistance agency, has already committed more than $278 million toward projects   in poor countries worldwide that have themselves identified secure and efficient   access to land as a necessary component of their long-term economic growth and   poverty reduction.

Habitat   for Humanity International continues to raise awareness about the urgent need   for tenure security to improve housing conditions for the worlds poor and   recently published The Shelter Report 2008, a detailed tenure report with   policy recommendations. For additional information about the report please   visit:

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The   Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency designed to   work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most   effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that   promote poverty reduction through economic growth.For more information, please   visit

Habitat   for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to   its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since   its founding in 1976, Habitat has built nearly 300,000 houses worldwide,  providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for 1.5 million people. For   additional information, please visit