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Habitat for Humanity Haiti serves 9,060 individuals as it rises to growing challenges of housing quality and affordability in Haiti

Every 21 seconds. That’s how often Habitat for Humanity helped another family access new or improved housing somewhere around the world in 2019. Of the 7 million people Habitat served, Habitat for Humanity Haiti proudly helped 9,060 individuals.

Habitat for Humanity International, the umbrella organization for Habitat, published its fiscal year 2019 annual report, which documents these successes and others.

“We are proud of the work we were able to accomplish in fiscal year 2019. We are committed to ensuring that every Haitian family has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live and we look forward to serving more Haitian families in 2020,” said Jean Frenel Tham, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Haiti.

Since its founding in 1984, Habitat for Humanity Haiti has now helped more than 60,000 families improve their housing conditions. Every one of those people has a Habitat story. Francois is one of them.

Francois (pictured below) is one of over 1,000 beneficiaries who received assistance following Hurricane Matthew. Before living in his new home, Francois and his wife rented a small room. When Hurricane Matthew hit his community in 2016, the house was damaged, and he found himself without a home. Francois and his wife recently moved into a Habitat for Humanity Haiti repaired home and now have the stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves. “I’m very happy with my new house. Before I was a tenant, now I own my own house. God is good,” said Francois.

Francois stands on the porch of his home repaired by Habitat for Humanity Haiti following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016

In fiscal year 2019, Habitat for Humanity Haiti continued its work in disaster response, urban upgrading, land tenure, and water and sanitation. Highlights included completing construction on 200 new homes and over 1,000 repairs to-date in communities severely affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the launch of a land tenure project with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at providing families with formal land titles. Habitat for Humanity Haiti continued its efforts to train and equip construction workers with the knowledge and skills needed to build stronger, more durable homes.

One of over 200 new homes built by Habitat for Humanity Haiti in Hurricane Matthew-affected communities

Additional initiatives included work in Canaan where Habitat for Humanity Haiti has installed 200 solar lamps to-date. Solar lamps provide opportunities for small businesses to extend their hours into the evening and help protect women and girls against gender-based violence. Habitat for Humanity Haiti continued work in Simon-Pelé through its water, sanitation and hygiene program, which provides Haitian students with access to clean water and sanitation facilities at school and equips students with the knowledge they need to be hygiene ambassadors in their communities. Habitat for Humanity Haiti also launched a project with the European Commission to work with universities, the private sector and civil society on alternative construction and financial inclusion methods to facilitate access for low-income families to quality construction materials.

A student in Simon-Pelé, Haiti demonstrates proper hand washing technique

The Habitat for Humanity International report documents Habitat’s many types of work to improve housing around the world—from continuing its traditional work to build safe, decent and affordable homes in partnership with soon-to-be homeowners, to its innovative focus on financial inclusion, housing market systems and entrepreneurship, and to its groundbreaking development of microfinance for the housing sector. Habitat is also broadening its efforts to impact the housing sector through advocacy.

“From our roots on a South Georgia farm to the international organization Habitat is today, our story is one of people coming together to offer a hand,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “It is humbling to think that Habitat’s volunteers, donors and staff have enabled our ministry to help so many build better lives for their families. But the challenge before us is even more humbling. Far too many people—from cities and towns here in the United States, to communities across the globe—do not have access to safe, decent or affordable homes. As this report shows, Habitat is ready to rise to that challenge, and we will use every tool at our disposal to do so.”

By the numbers:

  • Habitat served more than 7 million people around the world in fiscal year 2019 through construction—including new, rehabilitation, repairs and incremental building—market development, professional services and facilitation of civil society.
    • This includes more than 33,000 people in the U.S. and Canada, more than 2 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 1.8 million people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and more than 3.1 million people in Asia and the Pacific region.
  • Habitat’s total global housing construction was up by nearly 8 percent in fiscal year 2019 over the previous year.
  • Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 29 million people gain access to new or improved housing around the world.
  • Through advocacy and training, Habitat helped an additional 2.3 million people gain the potential to improve their housing conditions in fiscal year 2019.
  • More than 4 million people volunteered with Habitat in fiscal year 2019. Of those, 87 percent originated in the U.S., volunteering on builds within their communities or abroad through global service opportunities.
  • U.S. Habitat organizations tithed US$14.6 million to support Habitat’s work around the world.

To learn more and to read the 2019 annual report, visit habitat.org/multimedia/annual-report-2019.

Yesterday, January 12, 2020 marked the tenth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. As we look back on the past ten years, we remember those who were impacted and are grateful to the many individuals around the world who contributed to recovery efforts. Through our recovery program, Habitat for Humanity Haiti served over 50,000 families. Our work included distributing emergency shelter kits, constructing transitional and upgradeable shelters, providing home damage assessments and repairs, and training individuals in construction.

Together with President and Mrs. Carter, volunteers and beneficiaries also built 300 homes through the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project in 2011 and 2012. In 2018, we visited the Santo community to see how the families were doing. You can read more about this visit here.

Over the last ten years, great improvements have been made. However, even before the earthquake, housing in Haiti was a challenge. The Haitian government’s original action plan recognized the recovery will be a 20-30 year process. Our work in Haiti is far from over.

We remain committed to helping more Haitian families move into safe, permanent homes. We will continue to focus our long-term efforts on land tenure reform, training, capacity building and community rebuilding. This includes efforts such as:

  • The Leveraging Land in Haiti project launched in 2019. This four-year project will support 12,000 families through the complicated land tenure process to secure a formal land title.
  • Our ongoing response to natural disasters, including Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the 5.9 magnitude earthquake which struck the north in 2018. In these communities, we have built over 300 new homes and repaired 1,500 homes.
  • Continued construction training. We have equipped over 600 masons with simple and effective ways to strengthening their local building techniques. Many communities in Haiti have used the same construction techniques for generations. We believe improving these existing methods, instead of implementing new ones, ensures the methods will be adopted by the community.
  • Disaster-risk reduction programs, which help communities to identify and reduce their vulnerability to disasters. To date, we have sensitized over 5,000 households on safe construction.
  • New partnerships with universities and the private sector to develop alternative construction materials and financial inclusion methods. Ultimately, we will work to provide better, more affordable access to quality materials for low-income families.

Whether you have followed along for the past ten years or are joining us now, we are grateful for your investment in Haitian families. We remain more committed than ever in building a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

In October 2016, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew crossed through the Caribbean violently striking the southwest region of Haiti causing widespread damage, flooding and displacement. The storm leveled homes to their foundation and the corrugated metal roofs of those still standing were ripped off.

Habitat for Humanity Haiti immediately launched into action developing an initial disaster response program and providing shelter recovery kits to affected families. Following the initial response, Habitat Haiti began assisting families and communities to rebuild.

Two years later, Habitat Haiti has built over 300 news homes, repaired over 1,500 homes, sensitized over 5,000 households on safe construction, and trained over 600 new builders in the departments of Les Nippes and Grand’Anse.

These homes are built back stronger using basic disaster-resistant construction techniques, including the installation of hurricane clips and strengthening of the walls, to help them withstand future storms. Through this work, families, including Micheline and her husband (pictured below) have a safe place to call home.

This work has been in collaboration and partnership with a wide range of like-minded institutions and donors, including ECHO, AARP, Aktion Deutschland Hilft, CESVI, IOM, Islamic Relief, MercyCorps, Oxfam, Koral, United Nations (CERF) and Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

Micheline is a mother of two boys, ages 4 and 7. She and her husband are farmers. They grow cassava and watch over livestock. They also make charcoal which her husband sells in the market. Earlier this year, the family received the keys to their new home. Her children now have a safe place to study and play. Slowly but surely, Micheline and her family are rebuilding their lives.

New homeowner, Altide, stands on the front porch of her Habitat home.

One of over 300 new homes built through Habitat Haiti’s Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts

Everyone deserves a decent place to live.