During the earthquake, 2 million people lost everything they owned. Hundreds of thousands of people do not have a home to live in to this day. Whether people live in impoverished conditions or in dignity makes a difference to their future lives.
Habitat for Humanity provides long-term reconstruction in Haiti and helps people to help themselves. Affected families do not receive handouts but contribute to building their own homes, thereby becoming homeowners.
Fair, financed belongings instead of charity
Habitat for Humanity mobilises decision makers as well as resources, allowing deserving people the opportunity to set up and maintain a simple yet solid home for themselves. A small credit from the Habitat fund makes this a possibility even for those with very small incomes. Any family can lodge an application with their local Habitat for Humanity branch. The selection process is independent from religion, gender or health condition. The degree to which a candidate can meet the following criteria is assessed: level of deservedness, the willingness of personal contribution and mutual aid as well as the ability to pay back the interest-free loan in small payments in the long-term and to take responsibility of the living quarters.
Habitat for Humanity’s measures in Haiti comprise three phases:
1. Phase: Immediate help
Habitat for Humanity distributed 21,928 Shelter Kits to particularly needy families. These kits consisted of important materials and tools, such as plans for endwalls and roof-cover as well as nails, rope and hammers, which allowed people to, at least in the short-term, build emergency accommodation or carry out repairs on their own houses. On top of this, Habitat for Humanity set up 1,000 short-term units for survivors and helpers that featured an extensive array of equipment including wheelbarrows, shovels and rods to help eliminate the damage caused by tremours.
2. Phase: Safe halfway housing and clean up efforts
In the aftermath of the catastrophe (after the worst effects had been tended to), Habitat for Humanity began building halfway houses in April 2010. These buildings protect occupants from earthquakes and hurricanes and offer space for five people. The halfway houses are designed to accommodate a family from one to three years and can later be transformed into durable houses, rebuilt in another spot or responsibly recycled. Each halfway house costs between 1,000-2,000€.
3. Phase: Long-term reconstruction
During the third phase, Habitat for Humanity will build earthquake-resistant, sustainable basic housing, dubbed Core Houses. To do this, Habitat for Humanity will use the model of a very simple house, one which offers immediate protection to a family as well as providing a durable roof over their heads. The houses have a living space measuring 17,5 m², a stormproof roof, massive walls, concrete floors as well as a separate bathroom unit. The foundation of the basic model can be later extended upon. Each basic house costs between 4,000-5,000€. In addition, Habitat for Humanity repairs damaged houses and assists various associations with planning. For the last three years, they have also facilitated training courses in areas such as bricklaying and carpentry - the participants of these courses are now instrumental in the reconstruction process on Haiti.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for 26 years and will use its local expertise to mobilise resources as part of the rebuilding efforts. Habitat has provided more than 2,000 families with housing solutions through a variety of initiatives, including new home construction, progressive building, home repairs and improvements. It also builds capacity in construction skills, disaster mitigation and financial literacy and works in coordination with the community and government agencies.
Habitat for Humanity is an international Christian non-profit organisation and was founded in 1976 in Atlanta, U.S.A. Today the organisation exists in 100 countries worldwide. So far it has built more than 350.000 houses and helped over 1,75 million people. Habitat is predominantly financed by private donations and works with and for people from all nationalities and religious backgrounds.