Are affordable homes the answer to empowering the SDGs?

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The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, are a shared blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants.

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Ian Shapiro, CEO Reall. May 2019

Goal 11, ‘Sustainable Cites and Communities’, has the objective of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. While Reall’s mission is intrinsically linked to the aims of SDG 11, our work over the previous 30 years has also shown how affordable homes have a significant ‘nexus’ effect on other development indicators and offer a compelling sustainable solution to many SDGs.

Providing a family with a safe and secure home, which exists in perpetuity, cuts right to the root of poverty (SDG 1). Whereas a vaccine can cure an illness, a decent home can reduce the spread of disease in the first place (SDG 3).

In line with the objectives of clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), Reall has found the offering of affordable homes and WATSAN solutions in tandem to be the most effective and sustainable way of securing water, sanitation and services. When WASH solutions are provided in conjunction with affordable homes, services are effectively and consistently maintained.

But it doesn’t stop there. The economic impacts of housing are visible on several levels, tying into the objectives of opportunities for decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). Directly, greater entrepreneurial opportunities and job security becomes a reality for homeowners. Indirectly, we also see broader economic impacts on the local job markets and supply chains, as well as significant contribution to gross economic growth.

Housing’s carbon footprint and environmental impact can be greatly reduced by formalised settlement planning, maximising the use of land and making service delivery more efficient, all in line with the initiatives of SDG 13, Climate Action. Building a school can mean that children have access to better education, but providing decent homes ensures that they can attend, especially for women and girls. No longer do girls need to travel for miles to provide clean water for their family, and greater economic security means that the family do not require children to work for additional income (SDG 5).

In short, affordable homes equate to sustainable impact in the broadest sense.

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