Tallahassee Journal

Five years on, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 55,300 families affected by the Haiti earthquake

Five years on, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 55,300 families affected by the Haiti earthquake

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HaitiJan. 12, 2015 — Habitat for Humanity has helped 55,335 families — approximately 276,675 individuals in Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Simon-Pele and Cabaret — through its disaster recovery programme and subsequent community development activities since the devastating magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010.   

Habitat has committed to continue helping families affected by the earthquake along their pathways to permanent housing, and has focused its efforts on long-term community development, reconstruction and retrofits, training, and capacity building in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Simon-Pele. Habitat also continues to play a leadership role in the Haiti Property Law Working Group, which is addressing the legal system of land tenure and promoting stable land development. The group will soon publish its second manual on securing public and private land rights. Its first manual on the legal sale of property in Haiti was published in 2013.

“Without the dedication of donors, partners and volunteers, Habitat’s work in Haiti over the past five years would not have been possible,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “We are inspired and awed by the courage and resiliency of families as they seek to rebuild their lives. We have been privileged to partner with them, local community leaders and the Haitian government.”  

Launched days after the earthquake, Habitat’s initial disaster recovery program included distributing emergency shelter kits with partner organizations, constructing transitional and upgradeable shelters, assessing house damage, and beginning home repairs and retrofits. As part of Habitat’s 2011 and 2012 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Projects, Habitat volunteers, including partner families, local workers and members of the Irish nongovernmental organization Haven, constructed 300 permanent homes in the Santo community of Leogane. These homes were funded in large part through the generosity of the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties, and many other institutional and corporate donors, along with Habitat affiliates and individuals. 

Habitat also has trained thousands of individuals in safer construction techniques, financial literacy, damage assessments, disaster risk reduction and business development.

Approximately 2,100 short-term job opportunities have been created through the recovery program.

In Simon-Pele, a high-density neighborhood of 30,000 residents in Port-au-Prince, Habitat continues to partner with community leaders and residents to develop and execute a municipal development plan, including infrastructure projects, home reconstruction and training. In addition, Habitat is partnering with Simon-Pele’s community council to strengthen its expertise and capacity to organize and seek support for the needs of the community. Habitat’s multiyear work in Simon-Pele has been made possible by the generous support of UN-Habitat; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; Habitat for Humanity Canada its donors and local affiliates; the World Bank; and the Haitian government through the Bureau of Monetization of Development Aid Programs.

Habitat is also pursuing new opportunities to assist families living on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince who are in need of decent, affordable, safe housing and sustainable neighborhoods. Support would include technical assistance and training to define a communitywide development plan, to identify and prioritize community needs and long-term investment opportunities, and to help families meet international building standards as they build or upgrade their homes.

“Recovery from such a major disaster will take many more years,” said Claude Jeudy, national director of Habitat for Humanity Haiti. “While progress has been made since 2010, it is essential that Habitat and all stakeholders committed to Haiti’s housing sector continue to work together to strengthen communities and address long-term housing needs.”

The earthquake destroyed 105,000 houses, damaged 85,000 more, and left more than 1.5 million people homeless. Of the more than 2 million affected survivors, approximately 80,000 are still displaced as of December 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.

To read Habitat’s 5-year Haiti report, visit Habitat.org/Haiti

About Habitat for Humanity Haiti

Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for more than 30 years, providing families with pathways to permanent housing, including new home construction, home retrofits, training, capacity building and land tenure reform. Under its 2010 earthquake recovery programme and subsequent community development activities, Habitat Haiti helped more than 55,300 families affected by the disaster. Before the earthquake, Habitat built new homes in partnership with 2,000 families in Cabaret, Flammands and the Central Plateau.

For more information, contact: 
Dominique Rattner
Habitat for Humanity Haiti
[email protected]

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a path out of poverty, since 1976 Habitat has helped more than 5 million people through home construction, rehabilitation and repairs and by increasing access to improved shelter through products and services. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission.

To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org

For more information, contact: 
Rowena Sara
Habitat for Humanity International
[email protected]

About Habitat for Humanity Great Britain

Habitat for Humanity Great Britain is part of the International network, shares the international vision and supports sister Habitat for Humanity organisations around the world. Past year we assisted 94,000 towards decent and permanent homes in which families can grow and flourish.

In the UK please contact:
James Allport
Habitat for Humanity GB
Direct Line: + 44 (0) 1753 379 486
Switchboard: + 44 (0) 1753 313  539
Mobile: +44 (0)780 554 5649

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