skip to Main Content

Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA (January 29, 2021) ——Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and Miyamoto International today announced a new partnership to combine their housing, finance, and engineering expertise to create more resilient housing for low-income households. Globally, the number of people living in substandard housing is expected to more than double over the next 15 years, and reach three billion people, according to United Nations.

With the supply of formal, affordable, and safe housing unable to keep pace with unprecedented urbanization rates; many households build their own homes—often in perilous locations under threat from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and other disasters—with inadequate construction practices.

Haiti’s earthquake was more than just a natural disaster, it was an engineering disaster. It is estimated that more than half of the destruction could have been avoided by employing basic earthquake-resilient construction methods.

When a disaster occurs, poor households are often the most vulnerable and the least prepared. People living in poverty tend to lack a financial cushion to soften their fall due to low savings levels, imperfect credit and insurance markets, and inefficient money transfer mechanisms. Substandard shelter further complicates matters…

Patrick Kelley, vice president of Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter.

“The Terwilliger Center’s partnership with Miyamoto International aims to make more cost-effective solutions available to vulnerable households so that they are able to attain resilient housing before disaster strikes,” Kelley said. “By applying expertise on human-centered design to support key stakeholders in the housing ecosystem, the teams will design financial products bundled with resilient engineering assistance, to make safer housing available to those most in need.”

“As a global structural engineering and disaster-risk reduction firm having responded to over 100 earthquakes and hurricane events, we at Miyamoto have provided resiliency expertise that sustains industries and safeguards communities around the world. This partnership with Habitat’s Terwilliger Center takes a joint approach to tackling the global housing challenge, where market-based initiatives can address pressing concerns around construction quality,” said Dr. H. Kit Miyamoto, CEO of Miyamoto International. “Programmatic interventions co-designed by the two organizations will act as a catalyst to support low-income households and businesses prone to climate change and natural disasters by positively impacting economies and saving lives.”

The Terwilliger Center has worked with over 100 financial institutions in 58 countries through MicroBuild— the center’s $US 100 million housing-focused, blended finance fund—and through its advisory services on product design. Miyamoto International is a global, multi-hazard engineering and disaster management firm specialized in resilient engineering that reduces damage and facilitates recovery. Miymoto has over 25 offices strategically located in disaster-prone regions worldwide.

About Miyamoto International

Miyamoto International, Inc. is a global structural engineering firm providing critical resiliency services that sustain industries and safeguard communities around the world. Built on decades of structural engineering experience in the field, we specialize in resilient engineering practices that reduce damage and protect critical infrastructure. We design new construction, assess the performance of existing buildings, and work with communities to address specific vulnerabilities and prioritize solutions that limit damage, business interruption and loss of life. Our expertise supports how clients address the economic, political, social, and sustainability challenges of risk reduction, recovery, and reconstruction. To learn more, visit

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit

About Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter

The Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International, works with housing market actors to expand innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The goal of the Terwilliger Center is to make housing markets work more effectively for people in need of decent, affordable shelter, thereby improving the quality of life for low-income households. To learn more, visit

×Close search