Housing poverty in El Salvador

  • 112,040 people served in FY18 112,040 people served in FY18
  • 5,860 volunteers hosted in FY18 5,860 volunteers hosted in FY18
  • Projects: construction, reconstruction, disaster response, market development Projects: construction, reconstruction, disaster response, market development

Our local office was founded in 1992 to fight housing poverty in El Salvador.

By providing more than 20,476 families with housing solutions to improve their living conditions. We aim to continue serving the 944,000 families who make up El Salvador’s housing deficit.

The housing need

With a population of 6.1 million, El Salvador is both the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. Roughly 3 million Salvadorans have left the country to look for better opportunities.

The housing deficit exceeds 944,000 homes and continues to grow as the population increases.

With approximately 36.5% of the population living in relative or extreme poverty, many families don’t have access to financing for better housing.

Disaster response and relief

Salvadoran families and their homes are also vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and flooding.

In addition, a 12-year civil war that ended in 1992 killed roughly 75,000 people and displaced many families. Decades later, complications with land legalisation limit access to adequate housing, and social violence continues to drive many families from their homes.

Housing as a catalyst

We advocate for adequate housing and drive transforming and sustainable community development. Through accessible microcredit, we use housing as a means to help families overcome poverty.

When low-income families have access to an adequate home through home construction or an improvement, it can be a catalyst that contributes to the family’s overall development, benefiting their welfare, education and health.

Fighting housing poverty

We offer a variety of housing solutions in order to respond to the different needs of Salvadoran families, including assisting with land legalisation, home construction and improvements; building core houses intended for progressive expansion; and providing illumination kits that include solar panels.

Families contribute sweat equity while building a permanent home of their own alongside national and international volunteers.

Key facts & figures

  • Capital: San Salvador
  • Proclaimed independence: Sept. 15, 1821
  • Population: 6,125,512
  • Urbanisation: 62.6 %
  • Life expectancy: 74.18 years
  • Unemployment rate 6.1 %
  • Population living below poverty line: 34.5 %
6 out of 10 families live in overcrowded, inadequate housing such as shacks built of plastic and corrugated sheet metal.

Building homes and communities

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Community projects promote comprehensive development among groups of families with no land, or those who are in extreme poverty and require long-term intervention.

Nine community projects, covering such areas as land access, basic services, social infrastructure, vocational training and entrepreneurship, have been developed in partnership with local governments, foundations, private companies and churches.

Training skills for communities

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Poverty in El Salvador goes beyond housing. To improve local skills, we offer "Housing Support Services" (HSS), a set of training sessions to help families manage their limited resources. Topics include financial education, construction and disaster risk management.

During the construction or improvement of their homes, we provide families with technical assistance in order to ensure construction quality, efficient investment of their resources, reduction of disaster risks, and to provide alternatives for progressive improvement.

Responding to natural disasters

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Working in partnership with other organisations, we respond to families affected by natural disasters through home improvements, house construction, and the provision of permanent sanitary solutions.

We continue to collaborate with various sectors of civil society, including churches and schools, as we advocate for housing as a basic human right.