For Some, Housing Market Looks Bright
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Mar. 3, 2008) - Every day there seems to be another headline about the U.S. housing slump -existing home sales are down sharply from a year ago and home prices are seriously depressed in many areas. But believe it or not, in some parts of the U.S. home prices have seen healthy hikes and outside the U.S. –in the Caribbean and Latin America –some first-time homeowners actually have a reason to celebrate.
In Haiti, Jamaica, and Nicaragua, thousands of families have recently moved into newly built homes while thousands more eagerly await construction to wrap up on theirs. Perhaps best of all, these new homeowners don’t have to worry about variable-rate mortgages, falling prices, or rising taxes –they’re just happy to have a place with real walls, real floors, real doors, and a real roof.
The new owners are beneficiaries of homes provided by the Florida-based nonprofit Food For The Poor, which, since 1982, has built more than 46,000 housing units for destitute families in the Caribbean and Latin America. Last year alone, Food For The Poor put up 6,345 new homes in Jamaica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guyana, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.
Trapped by poverty, many of the families in those countries are forced to live in dangerous dilapidated shacks pieced together with scraps of wood, cardboard, tin, or whatever they can salvage from a dump. The makeshift hovels offer no shelter from the weather; when it storms, rain pours through leaky roofs and turns dirt floors into rivers of mud. When the sun shines down, the inside of the shanties become like an oven.
“The homes we build are modest by U.S. standards,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “But to the families we help, these homes are steppingstones that can help lift them out of the vicious cycle of extreme poverty”.
In Jamaica, where there are about 15,000 people waiting for new homes, Food For The Poor can build a safe, comfortable 12’ x 18’ home for $2,600.00. The houses have concrete floors, solid walls, leak-free sheet metal roofs, louvered windows, and even a front porch. Most don’t have indoor plumbing or electricity but they do provide protection from the elements and hope for the future. The basic design of the houses built in other countries served by the nonprofit agency is similar. At any given time, Food For The Poor has an average of 500 to 600 new homes under construction throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
Food For The Poor, the second largest international relief and development organization in the nation and the #1 charity in Florida, does much more than simply feed the millions of hungry poor in 16 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. Since 1982, we have provided clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and emergency relief, with more than 96% of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For additional information, please visit the Web site www.foodforthepoor.org.
Public Relations Coordinator
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