Mainstreaming Housing, Land, and Property in Crisis Response

Photo by Muhammad Amdad Hossain is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

Mainstreaming Housing, Land, and Property in Crisis Response

Outcomes from the Second Conference on HLP Rights in Crisis Contexts

Whenever a conflict or disaster arises, displaced individuals face various challenges related to housing, land, and property rights (HLP). The protection of HLP rights in post-emergency contexts is intrinsically linked to displaced individuals’ ability to rebuild their lives and allows for impacted communities to achieve sustainable peace and recovery.

HLP is crucial to crisis preparedness and response, peacebuilding, and development, yet it is often overlooked as a technical niche rather than an essential component of successful humanitarian assistance. (A definition of HLP can be found HERE in the report.) Amid conflict, disasters, and climate-driven displacement, mainstreaming HLP rights across humanitarian response must remain a key target for practitioners and donors to better support and empower displaced and crisis-affected populations.

2024 Conference

Almost one year after the inaugural conference, the second Conference on Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) Rights in Crisis Contexts convened on May 16-17, 2024, hosted at Howard University. The conference sought to share experiences and practices related to HLP issues faced by displaced and at-risk communities. Participants also discussed the progress made since last year’s conference and areas for future action to continue integrating HLP considerations into broader humanitarian response.

Over 188 humanitarian and development practitioners, donors, academics, and professionals joined the conference, including the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the International Organization for Migration, Catholic Relief Services, Norwegian Refugee Council, Habitat for Humanity, and others.

How We Got Here

The inaugural Conference on HLP Rights in Crisis Contexts, held in 2023, was a catalyst to achieving several steps toward increasing awareness of the importance of HLP in crisis prevention, response, and recovery. Since June 2023, several of the recommendations from the conference have been put into place to promote the profile of HLP and increase collaboration with various stakeholders, many of which had not typically been integrated into humanitarian conversations.

As recommended in the inaugural conference recommendations, InterAction began an HLP Task Team for InterAction Members to participate in education and advocacy on HLP rights in humanitarian response. In line with the goal of supporting learning opportunities, the International Organization for Migration supported American University graduate students to develop HLP briefs as part of a semester-long research practicum in spring 2024.

Other efforts to proactively collaborate with development actors and demystify HLP for people involved in crisis response and recovery culminated in a session on securing tenure in crisis contexts at the 2024 World Bank Land Conference in May 2024, as well as the creation of a mini podcast series on the vital role of HLP in crisis response.

To continue to integrate thinking and experiences of HLP in the U.S. with discussions on HLP in international crisis contexts, a Dialogue on Community and Collective Land Rights was held at the University of Puerto Rico in April 2024. During the two-day conference, speakers showcased the challenges and solutions regarding land tenure and property rights post-Hurricane Maria. The dialogue also included a site visit to the Caño Martin Peña Community Land Trust, where conference attendees learned first-hand from local leaders and community members on how community land rights can increase resilience to disasters.

Outcomes from the Dialogue on Community and Collective Land Rights in Puerto Rico can be found HERE.


Following discussions at the 2024 Conference on HLP Rights in Crisis Contexts, organizers compiled a document outlining recommendations and steps forward for practitioners and donors to continue to promote HLP across crisis prevention, response, and recovery. Recommendations include:

  • Understanding how HLP rights link to climate resilience, mitigation, and adaptation measures.
  • Increasing collaboration with academic stakeholders, development actors, and U.S.-based actors involved in HLP rights.
  • Advocating for the importance of HLP rights in humanitarian programming with humanitarian implementers and senior leadership.
  • Engaging a wide range of donors on the importance of HLP rights in crisis response to prioritize access to HLP rights across crisis prevention, response, and recovery programming.

The full outcomes and recommendations from the 2024 Conference can be found HERE. The summary proceedings are available HERE.

Additionally, watch the event recordings from Day 1 and Day 2 below.

To join InterAction’s HLP Task Team or get more information on InterAction’s HLP work, please contact Juli King.

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