Who are the people behind the European Citizens’ Initiative Housing for All? Read here our short interview with Zsolt Szegfalvi, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Hungary.
What is your organization doing, what are your tasks?
Habitat for Humanity is an international housing organization that is active in 70 countries worldwide. We bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. In Hungary, we have several program elements. In the „Field program” we directly support beneficiaries, families, and communities with in-kind building material and furniture, with renovations, incremental refurbishment or direct social work. In our „Advocacy program” we analyze the housing landscape, advocate for socially vulnerable, lobby for better housing policies. These programs are supported by our communication activities and hundreds of local and international volunteers annually.
Why do you support Housing for All?
We joined Housing for All ECI because the demands are very much resonating with what our organization pursues and it helps to bring these issues onto the European level. In Hungary, four organizations joined the core team to support the initiative, which are Habitat for Humanity Hungary, Amnesty International Hungary, The City is for All (AVM) and From Streets to Home Association (ULE). We believe a successful initiative could help elevate the public discourse on housing, it could motivate governments and municipalities to initiate the needed strategies and being active in this field.
How do you bring the idea of Housing for All to the people?
What works best and where are there hurdles? We are using offline forms in our public events, conferences, even in festivals. This gives us the possibility to better narrate the issue to the people, have a bigger impact on them overall. Resource-wise it’s not the most efficient technique, it needs a lot of organization, preparation, training and needs significant manpower. The most efficient way is reaching out to people through social media. This could be targeted more precisely, easier to get statistics but it needs money to finance the activities. We tried electronic Direct Mails because our database contains e-mail addresses, so far this leg was the least successful one.
Picture: Zsolt Szegfalvi, (c) Habitat for Humanity Hungary