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Volume 1, Issue 3 August 2007
IHC Seminar on Capitol Hill

IHC Holds Seminar on Africa Housing Policy

The IHC held a successful seminar on July 23, 2007 at the Rayburn House Office building to highlight the problems of housing and urbanization in Africa.  Forty people attended including Congressional staff.  A background paper which summarized the housing situation in Africa and presented program and policy options for the U.S. government to play a more active role in addressing those problems was distributed to participants and helped to stimulate a lively discussion at the seminar.  The IHC has initiated a follow on program to continue the dialogue with the U.S. government, donor agencies and government officials in the developing world on the importance of housing and urban infrastructure in order to address the crisis in Africa's cities.
To download the paper, click here.  To download the 11 point list of actions to increase U.S. support for housing and urban development sector, click here.

IHC Membership Grows to Thirty
IHC Welcomes Three New Members

The IHC welcomes its three new members: James Hokans Associates, Somerset Development Company, and the Louis Berger Group. The IHC's other members include: Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), National Association of REALTORS (NAR), Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Annie E. Casey Foundation, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), Westat, Housing International LLC, Affordable Housing Institute, Intergrated Holistic Approach Urban Development Project (IHA-UDP), TCG International (TCGI), PADCO, International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA), International Union for the Housing Finance, Homes for the Heart, Ashoka, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), National Alliance to End Homelessness, Rural Development Institute (RDI), One Economy, ShoreBank International Ltd., ARD, International Housing Solutions, National Housing Conference (NHC), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Global Urban Development, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).

Aboriginal Housing in Canada
IHC and CREA Continue Work on Aboriginal Housing in Canada

Unfortunately - and some would say shamefully - there is a pressing need to improve aboriginal housing in Canada. The Canadian government and the Assembly of First Nations agree that much aboriginal housing is comparable to third world slums. More than half the aboriginal population lives in substandard, overcrowded, deteriorating conditions.
As part of its response, IHC founding sponsor, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), has signed on as a platinum sponsor of the British Columbia Housing Symposium and Trade Show, to be held in Victoria from October 10 - 12.  The symposium is being organized by Canada Mortgage  and Housing Corporation. (CMHC), Canada's Federal Housing agency, and will feature a session on how to develop 'on-reserve' housing.
The sponsorship highlights a continued commitment by CREA and the IHC to improve the quality of aboriginal housing in Canada - both on and off - reserves.  It is also a follow-up to CREA's sponsorship of a major case study that built on promising practices for aboriginal housing in Canada, which was presented at the World Urban Forum III in June, 2006.

IHC Advocacy Program

pumpLegislative Update  

The Report of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs contains the following language regarding USAID: "The Committee is aware that urban populations in developing countires are growing rapidly, threatening the quality of life for billions of people. Within less than ten years, more people will be living in the world cities than in the world's rural areas. The Committee is concerned that USAID staff  and technical expertise on this issue had been declining sharply while urban problems globally are growing."  The IHC has been advocating for its four 2007 legislative priorities in Congress. Pending issues are due to be resolved when Congress returns after the August recess and a conference committee reconciles the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Appropriations bills.  An update on the issues as of August 27, 2007 follows:

  • Authorize and Fund the Africa Housing and Infrastructure Facility (AHIF): The AHIF did not get approved by the House or Senate Appropriations Committees. 
  • Support Water for the Poor Programs: The House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved $300 million for water programs. The House bill specifies that the funds should be spent in support of the Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act.
  • Increased Funding for OPIC's Administrative Budget: The House and Senate Appropriations Committees increased the funding for OPIC's administrative budget.
  • Funding For UN-HABITAT: The House Appropriations Committee approved $900,000 for UN-HABITAT; The Senate $1 million.

The IHC Policy Committee meets on a monthly basis to review IHC's advocacy activities.   All IHC members are invited to Policy Committee meetings.  Please email Bob Dubinsky at [email protected] with your questions or suggestions.

[Photo Credit: Edwin Huffman / World Bank]

Millenium Challenge Corporation
IHC dialogue with the MCC

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an independent U.S. Government corporation established in 2004 to administer the Millennium Challenge Account, an innovative foreign assistance program designed to "reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth". MCC countries are selected to participate based on their performance in governing justly, investing in their citizens and encouraging economic freedom using objective and quantifiable policy indicators.  MCC has committed $3 billion and signed compacts with 11 countries.  Anotheer $310 million has been committed to 13 countries to help them qualify for a compact.
The IHC determined that most of the compacts approved by the MCC were focused on rural development and that very limited resources were being invested in urban areas.  Compact proposals gave almost no attention to shelter issues.  To make MCC staff more aware of the importance of housing as a driver of economic growth and essential component of an anti-poverty strategy, the IHC organized a brown bag on April 10 for MCC staff to tell them about the IHC and discuss the issue of housing and urbanization in the developing world.  Presentations were made by Peter Kimm, IHC Board chairman; Bob Buckley, World Bank Housing economist; and Dave Leisbon, IHC consultant.  A lively discussion took place at the brown bag, and participants agreed the dialogue should be continued.