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No more shacks!: The daring vision of habitat for humanity

Fuller, M. with Scott, D. (1986). No more shacks!: The daring vision of habitat for humanity. Waco, TX: Word Books.


The striking contrast between rich and poor is increasingly dramatized to all honest travelers and observers of the media. Food, clothing, and shelter remain the essentials of human life—and deprivation of these basic rights (along with medical care, education, and employment) dehumanizes families and threatens the future of all.

Millard Fuller and Habitat for Humanity are dedicated to ridding the world of poverty, inadequate housing, and indignity. Fuller writes:

The simplest answer I can offer to the question of how to eliminate poverty housing in the world is to make it a matter of conscience. We must do whatever is necessary to cause people to think and act to bring adequate shelter to everyone. And we’ll do this through a spirit of PARTNERSHIP.

First, we’re in partnership with God...this is God’s movement, and there’s nothing that can stop it.

Second, we’re in partnership with each other. One of the most exciting features of that people who don’t normally work together at all are coming together everywhere to work in this cause...affluent and poor; high school students and senior citizens, conservatives and liberals, Roman Catholics and Protestants, and every radical and ethnic group I can think of...

We might disagree on how to preach or how to dress or how to baptize or how to take communion...But we can all pick up a hammer and, sharing the love of Christ, we can begin to drive nails. Thank God we can agree on a nail!

With this dual partnership as our foundation we are going to arouse the conscience of individuals and organizations around the world, challenging them to join in this cause. And together, we are going to get rid of the shacks. ALL OF THEM!

Chapter four quotes the United Nations Center for Human Settlements’ estimation of between one and one-and-a-half billion people—one quarter of the earth’s population—as lacking in adequate shelter.

Of these, one hundred million have no housing whatever. In many cities of the third world, half of the people live in slum and squatter settlements. In some cities, over three-fourths of the population live in such conditions. In Latin America alone, it is estimated that twenty million children live in the streets, with no place to call home. (p. 33)

In New York City, where the Habitat for Humanity project on the Lower East Side has renovated a six-story for nineteen low-income families, an estimated thirty to sixty thousand people are homeless, with two hundred and fifty thousand more on the brink of homelessness...In Boston...more than five thousand people are homeless...On the west coast, in Los Angeles, more than thirty thousand people are homeless, Thousands more are crowded into inadequate shelter. (p. 34)

The United Nations estimates that the world’s population will increase by one-and-a-half billion by the year 2000. Furthermore, it is predicted that 80% of these newcomers will be city dwellers. (p. 35)

Unfortunately, (Habitat for Humanity’s) effort (to provide decent housing for all) is confronted by two major obstacles. One is an uncaring attitude on the part of people who could help. The other is the population explosion. (p. 37)

The basic idea of Habitat is to provide a partnership of resources and labor so that the poor can help build their own housing—pay for ownership without interest—and contribute to the housing of others in need.

Seven appendices reveal a practical world strategy and operation.


  1. Do you agree with Millard Fuller when he says, "All of God’s people should have at least a simple, decent, place to live?" Is simple, decent living space a basic human need or right? If you agree, then what should be done?
  2. If there are enough ideas and material resources to solve such problems in our world, why isn’t there more progress?
  3. How can churches, individuals, and governments begin to solve this problem?
  4. What affects you most about Habitat for Humanity?


Those with conscience enough to cringe at the indignity of the impoverished, realize that each human family ought to have a decent place to live and a chance to earn a survival income. This book is about what ought to be done, can be done, and is being done.

Dean Borgman cCYS