Housing poverty in Portugal

  • Individuals served in 2016: 35 Individuals served in 2016: 35
  • Volunteers hosted in 2016: 527 Volunteers hosted in 2016: 527
  • Projects: new builds, rehabilitation and repairs Projects: new builds, rehabilitation and repairs

A group of volunteers concerned about poverty housing in Braga, in northern Portugal, started a Habitat affiliate there in 1996.

Two groups of international and local volunteers helped build Portugal’s first Habitat house in the town of Vieira do Minho in 1999. In 2002, Habitat expanded its activities to renovating existing homes of low-income families. Habitat in Braga partners with local municipalities to build and rehabilitate homes for people living on small incomes.

The housing need in Portugal

Housing is a major concern of poor Portuguese families, who often live in dilapidated homes in rural areas or shacks in the big cities. Successive governments have liberalised key areas of the economy over the past 20 years after decades of military dictatorship, but economic growth has been slowing, especially after the 2008 crisis.

Demographic pressure & joblessness

Many people were left without jobs or savings to improve housing conditions. At the same time, the need for housing is growing, especially in urban areas. The state cannot support the development of new social housing units. Portugal has been a destination for emigrants, mainly from former African colonies and Brazil.

How we address the need in Portugal

Habitat for Humanity in Portugal helps low-income families by building new homes on family-owned land and by renovating houses in the municipalities of Braga and Amarante.

Homes are made of traditional local materials: Bricks, red roof tiles, shutters on the windows, and ceramic tiles inside. Recently, Habitat for Humanity Portugal has been looking for local opportunities to raise funds to build more simple and decent homes.

Key facts & figures

  • Population: 10.83 million
  • Urbanisation: 63.5% live in cities
  • Life expectancy: 79.3 years
  • Unemployment rate: 11.3%
  • Population living below poverty line:18.7%