Poor Housing Conditions Affecting Lives of Impoverished

Posted By: Zakat Foundation of America

Feb 03, 2011

The poor housing conditions of the impoverished have been the cause of many vulnerable situations that occur as weather and living conditions worsen. Approximately, one billion people in the world lack adequate housing. They live in what are called "distressed" housing, which includes unofficial clusters of tin-roofed shacks that populate the impoverished areas found in large cities all over the world.

Not only are distressed "homes" insecurely built and generally lack amenities such as running water, electricity, or insulation from weather, they also tend to be built on land without the permission of the owner, leaving the inhabitants susceptible to eviction at any moment.

Many of those who live in urban, impoverished areas are migrants from the countryside. From Haiti to Bangladesh, people who lost the means to feed and support themselves due to drought, famine, or personal misfortune have sought initial refuge in the slum housing of the big city. While such "sanctuaries" were originally imagined to have been temporary, many slums have become permanent housing colonies of the poor and indigent.

The UN predicts that in 23 years, one in three people in the world will be a slum dweller. This is alarming considering the effect poor housing has on so many aspects of slum inhabitants lives. Their personal and mental health, employment, and education all suffer as poor families struggle to prosper in these decrepit situations. Often their housing is located near undesirable locations such as trash facilities, or former industrial areas. The increasing numbers of poverty around the world speak to the seriousness of this problem, since urban growth is rapidly advancing in the world's least developed countries. In South Asia, an estimated 315 million people live in these poor conditions, in comparison to the 160 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Those who live in the world's poorest neighborhoods are not without hope. Slums are the products of bad governmental policies and a lack of will by those in power has been invested. By prioritizing the world's housing situation and seeing adequate housing as a human right, campaigns by governments and humanitarian organizations can work to rid the world of slums. New public housing initiatives, as well as efforts to place slum dwellers in low cost housing alternatives are being implemented in some localities, but more is needed by the means of government social policy and grassroots empowerment programs that will enable the people living in slum areas to create a different reality for themselves.

Zakat Foundation of America, a Muslim charity that collects zakat, sadaqa / donations to provide humanitarian, emergency relief and sustainable development programs to empower lives throughout the world. We offer top Zakat resources including The Zakat Handbook: A Practical Guide for Muslims in the West, Zakat kit, ask an Imam feature, and you can calculate and pay zakat through our easy, online calculator.

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