Homeless International supports slum dwellers to improve their lives and find lasting solutions to urban poverty. We are the only UK charity devoted to the challenge of housing and basic services in slums.
Our vision is a world in which all people can exercise their right to land, basic services and shelter. Shelter is more than a house: it is a space for privacy, economic activity, social care and personal fulfilment. We help communities transform slums by supporting them to work together to secure land, build homes, access safe water and sanitation, and negotiate with governments – ensuring that they have a voice that gets heard.
We help slum dwellers by supporting the development of local organisations in Africa and Asia, which have their roots in poor communities. These organisations often grow from small social movements into self-reliant organisations that are able provide shelter and basic services solutions that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
We believe that sustainable solutions to homelessness can be created only if people have access to land, finance, information, organisation and technology – and if they have an opportunity to play a lead role in designing solutions that work for them.
In 1987, activists in the UK created the IYSH Trust - an organisation that was set up to meet a short term need to coordinate UK activities during the United Nations’ International Year of Shelter for the Homeless in that year. By the end of the year, it was clear that a huge job remained to be done. As a result, a decision was made to set up a permanent UK based organisation with the specific remit of supporting community-led shelter and settlement initiatives in the developing world. Established in 1989, that organisation was named Homeless International.