Patrick Kelley, Global Vice President, HFH International’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter

Patrick Kelley leads Habitat for Humanity International’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter (TCIS). TCIS works to develop market-based solutions for improved and affordable housing by strengthening the value chains; stimulating innovation and enterprise solutions for shelter; mobilising investment capital to move housing solutions to scale; as well as leading research and thought leadership that influence more vibrant and resilient housing markets. TCIS has launched MicroBuild Fund, which is a US$100 million impact capital fund for innovative housing finance; the ShelterTech platform to nurture start-ups and scale-ups that bring innovation to affordable housing; the Shelter Venture Capital Fund; and the Innocentive crowd-source challenges.

Kelley is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has a Master’s Degree from Princeton University in Economic Public Policy and International Development. He is on the board of directors for the Small Enterprise Evaluation Project (SEEP) Network, EarthEnable, MicroBuild India; and he also teaches a course on inclusive markets at Emory University’s Laney Graduate School.

In Southeast Asia, the ShelterTech accelerator programme culminated in a virtual global summit on 16 July 2021. Ten Southeast Asian start-ups, which had undertaken months of support and mentorship, presented their work and progress, followed by feedback from investors and ecosystem partners. Construction+ interviewed Patrick Kelley to find out more about the programme’s innovative technology solutions that can potentially transform housing segments in the built environment sector.

CUBO Modular house; image courtesy of Habitat for Humanity

What does TCIS hope to see in Asia’s built environment sector in the coming years?

Housing is the foundation to health and sits at the centre of many families’ livelihoods. Nearly 3 billion people are on the path to inadequate housing by 2050, with many in slums or informal settlements. Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. A report from the McKinsey Global Institute says that replacing today’s inadequate housing and building the additional units needed by 2025 would cost an estimated US$16 trillion. Ninety per cent of that is going to have to come from the private sector, according to McKinsey.

Asia-Pacific is the world’s most disaster-prone region and home to half of the world’s urban slum dwellers, making the need to scale up affordable and resilient housing solutions even more critical. Clearly, entrepreneurs in this sector have a huge challenge, but also great market and impact opportunities. Housing is one of the top three categories on which low-income people spend their money and thus new business models are needed now more than ever. It was with this recognition that Habitat for Humanity International created the TCIS five years ago, building upon decades of Habitat’s work in this area.

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