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A transformative initiative supporting the Koraga people in India to access land for the first time, and a collaborative project increasing the supply of affordable housing in Catalonia by renovating empty homes are the Gold Winners of this year’s World Habitat Awards.

Restoration of Dignity and Human Rights of Indigenous Tribal Community in Karnataka, India: working in partnership with the NGOs the Koraga Federation and Samagra Grameena Ashram, this ActionAid India project has secured thousands of acres of land for tribal communities and 19,000 people have accessed grants to build homes.

This has acted as a foundation for them to rebuild their lives. A state-sponsored nutrition programme has improved food security and health among the Koraga community, and now more children attend school and have access to scholarships. Koraga women increasingly hold leadership positions within the community and more than 1,000 have become self-sufficient.

Viviendas para las Entidades Sociales, Spain: run by social housing provider and manager Habitat3, the project renovates homes in collaboration with local social enterprises who train socially excluded people to help them find work in the future. Habitat3 manages the homes and the charities select the tenants, providing ongoing support for issues such as mental health, drug addiction, disability, gender violence and migration. Currently, 99 renovated homes are managed through the project, providing a home for 187 vulnerable tenants.

Alongside these Gold Award Winners, World Habitat are also presenting one Silver Award and six Bronze Awards:

Discus Housing First, Netherlands (Silver)

Giving homeless people control over their route to secure housing in Amsterdam.

Building with EARTH, China (Bronze)

Promoting advanced earth construction in rural communities through training local craftspeople.

Healthy Homes for Humanity, Guatemala (Bronze)

Providing basic services in the home to improve the health of indigenous families living in poverty.

Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission, India (Bronze)

Granting land rights and upgrading slums through state-wide government legislation.

La Borda housing co-operative, Spain (Bronze)

Providing eco-friendly, intergenerational co-operative housing and shared spaces for people in Barcelona.

#GreenNFit Neighbourhood Rebuild, USA (Bronze)

Renovating homes and revitalising public spaces in Massachusetts through mass volunteer action days.

Dzivarasekwa Slum Upgrading Project, Zimbabwe (Bronze)

Recognising the rights and improving housing, water supply, lighting and roads of residents in informal settlements.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, said: “I am delighted that UN-Habitat supports the work of communities and people that are creative and intersectional in their action, and work towards more sustainable, affordable and inclusive housing. The 2019 World Habitat Award winners promote human-rights based approaches that place the well-being of people first and address housing challenges faced by the most vulnerable of us.”

Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, said: “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to the 2019 winners of the World Habitat Awards. These projects exemplify innovation in the way they approach their work and contribute to the realisation of the right to housing. I am always amazed at the creativity and efficacy of on-the-ground advocacy I see every day in my work as Special Rapporteur, but particularly moved when those efforts are specifically designed to support the most vulnerable members of a community.”

David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat, funders and co-ordinators of the World Habitat Awards, said: “All of these outstanding projects and programmes are fully-deserved winners of the World Habitat Awards. We are delighted to give them the recognition they deserve for their dedication, perseverance and ingenuity – which has transformed the lives of entire communities. They have also laid the foundations for other housing projects to be inspired by their work and make safe and secure housing a reality for people across the world.”

Each year the World Habitat Awards are presented to the most outstanding and innovative housing projects from across the world. In 2019 almost 200 projects and programmes entered the Awards.

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