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As the year draws to an end, we at habitat for Humanity Haiti would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

Contact:

Isabelle Vasquez

(509) 3701-3262 EXT 6268

ivasquez@habitathaiti.org

 

At a time when a safe and healthy home has never been more important, Habitat Haiti serves over 9,000 people through new and improved housing

Local work contributes to more than 5.9 million served globally by Habitat in 2020

Port-au-Prince, November 17, 2020 — Despite economic and operational challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Habitat Haiti successfully adopted new strategies and safe practices to continue helping families in Haiti. The 9,000 people who gained access to safe, decent and affordable housing in the past year helped Habitat reach 35 million people served since its founding in 1976.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt it was important to continue construction on the houses that were unfinished prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. At Habitat Haiti, we finished constructions on 11 houses in the northern part of Haiti.

This work is part of the more than 5.9 million people that Habitat for Humanity served around the world last year. Habitat Haiti is part of the larger Habitat for Humanity network, which operates in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries.

Cado, 71, is one of the families that has been helped by our efforts and is able to shelter at home through the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her grandchildren now have a safe home, built to withstand hurricanes and other environmental disasters. Cado, whose parents felt it was not important to provide her with an education because she’s a woman, has made sure that her children and her grandchildren receive the education that she never had. She is able to use her home as a storefront for a small business which enables her to provide for herself and her family.

Since 1984, Habitat Haiti has partnered with 9,000 people to increase access to affordable, safe and decent housing in the local community through new construction, rehabilitation and repairs. In fiscal year 2020, Habitat Haiti has continued to work with communities throughout Haiti, building homes, and safe water sanitation conditions for those who need it the most. With the ongoing pandemic, we shifted our focus to spread awareness about appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 especially in rural areas of Haiti where people were not aware of the dangers posed by the virus.

“While this year has brought many challenges and heartaches to communities we serve across the world, I’m grateful that Habitat has had an opportunity to serve so many families when they needed it most,” said Jonathan T.M. Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “At Habitat, we are religious about our principles, but not about our tactics. I’ve been blown away by the ingenuity and flexibility of Habitat organizations around the world who quickly adapted to the new normal and built new strategies to carry out our mission. We are clear-eyed that the future will bring more headwinds, but I know that the people who enable our mission — our donors, staff, volunteers and the people we serve — are as dedicated as ever to our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

To learn more and to read Habitat’s 2020 annual report, visit: habitat.org/multimedia/annual-report-2020.

 

Habitat for Humanity Haiti has partnered with the European Union to launch a 3-year program which aims to reduce pollution and create jobs in Haiti. This project falls under an umbrella program by the European Union in Haiti named URBAYITI; it will foster partnership with Haitian universities to facilitate research into turning plastic waste into roads and construction materials.

Urbayiti is a pilot program launched in three cities, Port-au-Prince, Jérémie and Cayes. Strategic partnerships have been implemented with universities and local governments to both help reduce plastic waste and pollution and build what should ultimately be cheaper and more durable construction raw materials.

In Haiti, plastic waste is already sourced by companies such as HP, to make ink cartridges, and shoe company Timberland, which is also using Haiti’s plastic waste for its heavy-duty boots. This provides jobs to local communities, where people can earn a living picking up plastic waste, which would otherwise end up clogging canals, and ultimately pollute the ocean.

 

In India, 620 miles of roads have been paved using plastic waste, the findings were conclusive, plastic roads were more durable than traditional asphalt, cheaper to build, and better for the environment. Habitat has met with the Mayor of Cayes, Sylvie Rameau, to begin a partnership to help implement this program and reinforce practices that will bring revenue to the city as well as ensure safer building practices.

In addition to its recycling for construction project, URBAYITI will also target people in the construction sector to teach them the latest in proper construction techniques, so that they may have the know-how to build houses that will withstand environmental disasters. Habitat also provides training to students who have yet to enter the job market in vocational schools in the three areas of operation. Habitat for Humanity is committed to empower through innovation.

Habitat report: Emerging economies undervalue housing’s share of GDP, risk missing a key to COVID-19 recovery

Over 30 years ago, the United Nations designated the first Monday of October as World Habitat Day. This year, we never could have foreseen the importance of safe and adequate shelter in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, contemplated Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEO.

Access to adequate, affordable housing has been a longstanding issue in Haiti exacerbated by natural disasters. The Government of Haiti estimates that 700,000 housing units would be required to meet the pre-2010 earthquake situation and accommodate for urban growth.
According to data from ECLAC, in Latin America and the Caribbean, almost 100 million people (21% of the urban population) live in poverty, unsuitable housing, with little access to drinking water and sanitation.

For this reason, in the framework of World Habitat Day, Habitat for Humanity published the report “Cornerstone of Recovery” in which the organization considers how much official statistics might underestimate the role of housing in the economy, given the size of the informal sector in many emerging economies; and develops unofficial estimates.

The objective was to establish the role of housing in economies, representing both investment and housing consumption. To that end, the GDP of 11 countries was examined in detail, analyzing whether the housing sector could support economic recovery throughout the world. With this economic stimulus, low-income households would have access to safer and healthier homes, which would in turn help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“The results are revealing: existing datasets in low- to middle-income countries are often incomplete or inaccurate, and efforts to measure housing’s contribution to the economy have largely focused on developed countries, according to the report”, says Ernesto Castro-García, Area Vice President, Habitat for Humanity International, Area Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Low- and middle-income countries tend to emphasize housing construction’s share of GDP in national datasets but not the larger housing services component, which includes rent or mortgages, maintenance and utilities.

As a result, housing is a larger-than-expected contributor to emerging economies’ GDP, averaging 13.1% in our sample countries, on par with sectors such as manufacturing, which often draws more attention in economic recovery plans.

Furthermore, informal housing and housing services are likely to be undercounted or not counted at all in national accounts. Informal housing alone, could contribute an additional 1.5% to 2.8% to GDP on average, if properly accounted for. This means housing is likely an even larger contributor to GDP – up to 21.8 percent of GDP in the countries studied. If only half of the informal sector is accounted for, it would increase housing’s addition to the GDP average from 13.1% to 14.6% the report found.

Unnoticed importance. Although interventions in the housing sector can produce large economic stimulus effects and would improve the health conditions of families, they are not used prominently by governments. Proof of this is that of the 196 countries that have developed an economic response to the pandemic, only 22% (or 11%) have explicitly included housing components in their plans, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Interventions in the housing sector can have not only large economic stimulus effects but also improve individual welfare and community health, by helping alleviate overcrowding and creating healthier living conditions. In addition, they create jobs and, particularly in the time of a pandemic, would help avoid the overcrowding that makes communities more vulnerable to the virus. Our country must review and include the housing market in the economic reactivation plan”, Jean Frenel Tham, National Director at Habitat for Humanity Haiti.

Additionally, the report authors recommend stimulus policies that, in cooperation with the international and private sectors, focus on middle- and low- income families while including the formal and informal housing market. It emphasizes short-term actions to make land available for housing; open access to finance for developers, households and landlords; provide equitable subsidies to households; and offer incentives to lenders and builders.

Title: “Cornerstone of Recovery: How Housing Can Help Emerging Market Economies Rebound from COVID-19. Commissioned by Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Housing.

Co-authored by Arthur Acolin, assistant professor of real estate at the University of Washington, and Marja Hoek-Smit, director of the International Housing Finance Program of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center.

Analyzes housing data from 11 emerging market economies: Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda.

 

 

 

 

Everyone deserves a decent place to live.