Remote Consultancy Alert! Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is seeking a Global Housing Research and Data Consultant: Apply!!

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is seeking a consultant who will conduct a scanning of existing research related to adequate housing globally. In order to meaningfully improve adequate housing for all, the housing sector must better understand barriers to adequate housing, and mechanisms within the housing ecosystem that can catalyze adequate housing at scale.

This research product is meant to consolidate existing knowledge, as well as to identify key gaps in sector knowledge. It should therefore review existing literature, but also provide a synthesis and analysis to answer the key questions below. The product of this consultancy may be shared externally and will inform HFHI’s research and influence agenda.

Proposals for this position can be accepted from Europe/Middle East/Africa, Latin American and the Carribean, Asia Pacific and North America.


HFHI has supported similar research, including: (1) Interaction’s report “The wider impacts of humanitarian shelter and settlements assistance”; (2) the 2023 IIED report “Improving housing in informal settlements”; (3) a 2021 literature review on barriers to adequate housing globally; (4) and a 2023 UN Habitat’s expert group meeting on the status of housing indicators. This new research scanning should build upon these works, using global data that reflects local and regional differences.

How HFHI understands housing:

HFHI recognizes the definition of “adequate housing” by the Office of the UN High Commissions for Human Rights and UN-Habitat. HFHI aims to be people-centered; thus, this research scan should help answer: what housing systems are (not) working for whom, and why? HFHI also recognizes that cross cutting issues such as climate change and gender impact the housing need. The results of the research scanning should represent this understanding of adequate housing.

Challenge of inconsistent and lack of housing data:

Housing stakeholders still lack globally consistent data related to adequate housing. Most notably, the global estimate of people living in inadequate housing differs based upon each institution’s definition and methodology. For example, despite the UN definition of adequate housing including affordability, its estimates do not include that dimension. The World Bank’s IFC estimates include affordability in the estimate, but only examine 64 countries. Missing international definitions, overlapping concepts, and lack of coverage of some indicators, contribute to poor quality of global data to fulfill understand and respond to the global housing need. Finally, housing does not even exist as a sector like “health” or “education” within Official Development Assistance to allow analysis of foreign aid directed to housing.

As part of Habitat’s new strategic effort to influence housing actors, the organization aims to bring consistency and new knowledge to the global housing sector. The goal is to unite stakeholders around a common understanding of issues and opportunities, so that we can meaningfully impact the global housing need. This research should be able to inform initial planning of investments toward this goal. Habitat intends to generate a publication from this research to help advance the effort to expand the available data on housing for the broader sector.

Focus of the research:

Most importantly, Habitat would like the consultant to answer: Where is there a gap in data? Understanding this gap will inform where the sector and Habitat should invest in data collection, research and learning. Within this gap, are there areas that HFHI as an international non-governmental organization would be better placed to contribute? This question regarding the gap in data should be answered in relation to the following three questions:

  • What are mechanisms within the housing ecosystem that can catalyze affordable and adequate housing at scale?
  • The focus on scale will inform efforts to meaningful impact the housing need. It also recognizes that housing is highly complex and capital intensive, requiring work with diverse stakeholders. These mechanisms should be specific enough that Habitat can take a global advocacy stance on it, but broad enough that to allow for local flexibility in understanding. For these promising mechanisms, the researcher should collate related promising practice documents.

What quantitative data on housing is already regularly collected?

  • This data could be from a variety of actors, including public institutions, research institutions, etc. The intention is that some of these data sets could inform ‘state of housing’ reports that are regularly compiled at regional and global level. The data might cover elements of adequate housing (e.g. access to basic services like water), or broader housing data. Data sources could include national censuses, DHS data, CAHF, open-source geospatial data, etc. Upon award, Habitat will provide the consultant with an existing list of indicators compiled as part of UN Habitat’s expert group meeting on the status of housing indicators. The consultant should add to this and compile an exhaustive index, recording how they can be accessed, and for which geographies they are relevant.
  • What are the impacts that being adequately housed has on an individual’s or family’s broader wellbeing – their health, educational attainment, economic opportunities, etc.?
  • This question is covered in depth in the aforementioned IIED and Interaction reports, so the consultant’s work should add to these and focus on identifying gaps in the data.
  • This research scanning should summarize the body of evidence related to each question (including the research question, methods, and related findings), the overall strengths and weaknesses.


  • End of May: Workplan

End of July: Presentation by consultant on progress to date, including:

  • List of resources reviewed
  • Key findings to date
  • Key challenges or support needed from HFHI
  • End of August: Draft report, include 2 rounds of review by HFHI staff

End of September: Final report, with the following sections:

  • Executive summary (including recommendations on priority research for the sector)


  • Key findings organized by each question
  • End of September: PPT Slide deck summarizing content (not more than 15 slides)

Application Submission

  • Interested parties should submit their application by May 12, 2024 to [email protected]. Applications should include the following components:

Narrative proposal:

  • Proposed methodology: Including how they will incorporate the voices of concerned communities, as well as local research institutions.

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Proposed timeline

  • Outline of prior experience
  • Financial proposal: Propose a lumpsum amount with an explanation of how this was determined. Habitat does not anticipate any travel requirement given that it is primarily a desk exercise.


  • List of key personnel
  • List of research publications or impact evaluations related to housing, shelter, informal settlements, or urban planning

Criteria for selection

  • Coherence and relevance of narrative proposal
  • Value for money
  • Demonstrated experience publishing related to housing, shelter, informal settlements, or urban planning in the Global South
  • Partnerships with local research institutions.

How to apply

Application Submission

  • Interested parties should submit their application by May 12, 2024 to [email protected].

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