3ie Impact Evaluation Report 21

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

3ie Impact Evaluation Report 21, 2015

This study by Sebastian Galiani, Paul Gertler, Ryan Cooper, Sebastian Martinez, Adam Ross and Raimundo Undurraga evaluates the impact of providing inexpensive basic pre-fabricated houses to poor populations living in slums in Mexico, El Salvador and Uruguay. The main objective of the programme was to improve household well-being and increase the beneficiary household's probability of exiting extreme poverty.

The study showed that the intervention led to substantial increases in beneficiary satisfaction in terms of quality of life; families were happier with their houses and their lives. There were also gains in child health as reflected by reductions in the incidence of diarrhoea. However, this was only found in two of the three countries in which the intervention was implemented.

One of the main policy lessons from the study is that to improve health and employment outcomes, improving housing is not enough and additional programmes are needed. As a result TECHO, the NGO implementing this housing intervention, has started designing and implementing other programmes aimed at addressing health, employment and other community problems in addition to its flagship housing programme. TECHO has now also set up its own monitoring and evaluation unit, and it intends to conduct impact evaluations of all of its future programmes.

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