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Reall Logo.jpg
TypeRegistered Charity No. 1017255 (Scotland: SC041976)
FocusSlums, urban poverty, affordable housing, sustainable development
OriginsBritish Housing associations
Area served
Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia
MethodSupporting partner organisations; grants, financial services, technical assistance and advocacy
Key people
  • David Orr (Chair of the Board)
  • Ian Shapiro (Chief Executive)

Reall, Real Equity for All, (formerly Homeless International) is a social enterprise focusing on urban poverty issues (including slums and social housing) in the developing world. It is a registered both as a charity and a company limited by guarantee.


Reall, previously Homeless International, was initially created in 1989, following the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless Trust or IYSH Trust UK, for the 1987 International Year of Shelter for the Homeless.[2] The trust organised a fundraising campaign and offered grants to more than 100 projects, both in the UK and overseas, all related to shelter issues.

After the year ended, demand for support was still present in developing countries (for instance for establishing land tenure, offering loans for house improvements, improving basic infrastructure); the remaining funds were used to set up a permanent organisation, Homeless International, established in 1989. The trustees appointed Ruth McLeod as director, and she remained chief executive until 2007, when Larry English took her succession.

In 2014, Homeless International rebranded as Reall, reflecting its transition from an international development charity to a social enterprise.[1]

Reall's work is mainly focused on community-led initiatives and on urban poverty, although some of its current partner organisations also work in rural areas. It helps slum dwellers by supporting the development of civil society organisations in Africa and Asia that are rooted in communities and that create housing and basic services solutions, which are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.


Reall works by supporting community-led projects and initiatives related to slum upgrading and social housing development in over 13 countries by supporting 16 local organisations. It provides grants helping these organisations to accomplish their projects and to build their capacity; organisational development support and technical assistance for housing and infrastructure projects; bank guarantees from the Guarantee Fund; capital grants and loans from the Community-Led Infrastructure Finance Facility (CLIFF); loans from the Bond.


Reall disburses around £1 million of grants every year to partner organisations, especially for younger organisations which are developing community work, undertaking surveys and mapping of slums, and piloting demonstration schemes in housing and infrastructure (such as water supply and sanitation). Such grants are funded by DFID, Comic Relief, the Big Lottery Fund, the European Commission, the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, and private trusts and foundations such as the Baring Foundation.[3]

The Guarantee Fund[edit]

The Guarantee Fund was established in 1994 to enable communities of slum dwellers to access loans from banks. Given the perceived high risk of lending to slum dwellers, few banks in developing countries are willing to lend to such organisations. The Guarantee Fund was created to offer guarantees to bank so as to lower their perceived risk. The main contributors to the Fund have been UK Housing Associations through long-term deposits. The Guarantee Fund has been used chiefly in India and Bolivia.


The Community-Led Infrastructure Finance Facility (CLIFF) was created as the result of a DFID-funded research entitled Bridging the Finance Gap, started in 1999, and first piloted in 2002 in India.[4] It is a venture capital facility which allows communities to implement demonstration projects, in order to secure funding for larger-scale projects. CLIFF is typically used to fund more mature organisations, able to take on loans and larger amounts of capital finance, but still unable to access mainstream housing finance (especially in countries where the financial sector is still under-developed).

Reall coordinates CLIFF. A first phase ran between 2002 and 2010, with almost £10 million funded by DFID and SIDA; a second phase is running until 2015, with around £20 million committed by the same funders.[5] CLIFF started in India in 2002, in Kenya in 2005, in the Philippines in 2007, in Nepal in 2010, and in West Africa, Malawi, Angola and Zimbabwe in 2011.


The Bond (originally named "The Africa Bond") is a soft loan facility created in 2007, funded mostly by UK Housing Associations through interest-bearing deposits, aimed at providing soft loans to local partner organisations unable to access other forms of loan finance. Loans are typically issued at 6% per annum, for housing projects. As of 2012, loans have been issued to NACHU.[6]

Partner organisations[edit]

Current partners[edit]

Homeless International currently supports the following local organisations.

Some of the above organisations are part of global networks, including Slum Dwellers International, the ACHR, and the International Co-operative Alliance.

Past partners[edit]

In the past, support was also provided to:

This does not include around 50 organisations supported by the IYSH Trust during the 1987 International Year of Shelter for the Homeless.

Notable projects[edit]

Examples of projects supported by Homeless International include:

  • Community-managed toilets piloted and replicated by SPARC in Mumbai and other Indian cities
  • Technical support for the relocation of 30,000 railway dwelling families and 20,000 pavement dwelling families to permanent housing by SPARC; including bridge finance for the construction of Milan Nagar, a pilot 5-story building built by pavement dwellers.
  • Organising the first international slum dwellers' exchange between Mumbai and Bogota in 1990, helping to start the Slum Dwellers International movement.[8]
  • Support to the expansion of Federations of the Urban Poor in Southern Africa and East Africa, including the Namibia Shack Dwellers' Federation (World Habitat Award finalist 2008).[9]
  • In Kenya, CLIFF supported notably the Kambi Moto slum upgrading project, including vertical in cremental upgrading (World Habitat Award finalist 2009).[10]
  • Support to IVDP in Tamil Nadu through grants and bank guarantees, leveraging loans for the construction of houses and toilets (World Habitat Award finalist 2010).[11]
  • Support to the Orangi Pilot Project's innovative housing and education programmes in Orangi, Karachi (World Habitat Award winner 2001).[12]
  • Support to Pro Habitat in Bolivia for the eradication of the Chagas disease (World Habitat Award winner 2000).[13]


  • McLeod, Ruth; Mullard, Kim (2006). Bridging the Finance Gap in Housing and Infrastructure. Intermediate Technology Publications. ISBN 978-1-85339-639-7.
  • Ian Morris, Kim Mullard and Malcolm Jack, The growth of "financial services" provided by Homeless International, Environment and Urbanization 2007; 19; 471
  • Homeless International, Environment and Urbanization 1992; 4; 168
  • CLIFF-related publications


External links[edit]