Shelter from the storm: upgrading housing infrastructure in Latin American slums

Shelter from the storm: upgrading housing infrastructure in Latin American slums

Adequate housing, along with food and clothing, is considered by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a basic requirement for achieving a minimum living standard. Yet, inadequate housing, a primary characteristic of slum dwellers, is a problem facing 45 per cent of the global urban population.

Despite the importance of housing, there is surprisingly little scientific evidence on the causal effects of housing programmes on the welfare of beneficiary populations in low-income countries.

The study contributes to filling this gap by evaluating the impact of providing inexpensive basic pre-fabricated houses to poor populations living in informal slums in Mexico, El Salvador and Uruguay. The programme Un Techo Para Mi País (UTPMP), is youth-led and provides such houses to poor populations living in the slums of 14 Latin American countries.

The main objective of the programme is to improve household well-being and increase the beneficiary household's probability of exiting extreme poverty. UTPMP targets households in sub-standard housing which are typically made of materials such as cardboard, tin and plastic, and have dirt floors and lack services such as water and sewage.

The study evaluates the impact of UTPMP housing on physical and mental health, socio-economic, and security outcomes. It also examines if there are spillovers to non-beneficiaries living in treatment communities.