More than 60% of the population in landlocked Tajikistan lives below poverty line. Civil war and economic collapse made most of the population poor and left thousands of families without decent housing. While population cannot afford building new houses the existing housing stock deteriorates because of neglect and lack of financing from the government. Towns and villages have 23.8 million m2 of housing; in the countryside, there is 33.8 million m2. The lack of investment opportunities to install basic water and sanitation services make s it virtually impossible to build social housing. Of the existing housing stock, only 56,800 m2 were in good repair in 2005 (0.1% of available housing); overall, only 781,000 Somoni (US$244,000) was spent on major repairs. It is typical bot for rural and urban areas for a couple of generations to live together in old, substandard, overcrowded homes with unhealthy conditions, leaking roofs, and inadequate heating systems.
Annually building costs increase at around 25%-50% and decent housing is becoming beyond the reach of the major ity of the population. No repair grants are available from the government and only few micro-finance organizations have recently started offer housing repair loans in Tajikistan. Another hindrance to solving the housing crisis is the lack of skilled people such as carpenters, masons, and builders. This means most people, not knowing how to build their homes themselves, have to hire someone to build their homes for them - increasing the cost of housing - or postpone the construction until better days and put up with substandard housing.HFHT affiliates have received applications from more than 1500 families living in inadequate housing over the last 2 years. These families live with limited income in substandard living conditions and cannot break the cycle of poverty on their own.
Population also suffer from poor access to adequate water supply and sewer services Only 58% of 7,000,000 population in Tajikistan has access to improved water. Of 699 centralized systems of water supply available nationally, 113 do not function and 358 do not meet sanitary requirements. In most part of rural area (70% of the country) drinking water is drawn from contaminated irrigation canals and ditches. As a result 51.1% of the Tajik population contracted one or more water borne/related illness annually.
In addition to the challenges in the economic sector, the climatic, geological, and geophysical conditions in Tajikistan make it prone to various natural disasters that annually destroy poorly constructed infrastructure and housing at a cost of approximately $19.7 million. In 2006-2007 alone, the Ministry of Emergency Situation (MoES) reported that over 2,734 residential homes as well as basic infrastructure facilities were damaged or completely destroyed, and 6 lives lost, due to the devastating power of the earthquakes. Usually the victims of these disasters are people living in the poorest rural areas – almost 70% of total population. The main causes of destruction in the residential sector are faulty construction, poor earthquake-resistant infrastructure, lack of knowledge and lack of financial resources to reinforce or maintain the homes. There are no official building codes/norms or regulations developed for earthquake resistant construction in rural areas.