Houses Providing Jobs, Shelter, Hope

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 10, 2011) — The first phase of a major home-building project on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince is almost complete, just two months after construction started on 100 houses. Food For The Poor, the Inter-American Development Bank, and Fonds d' Assistance Économique et Social committed to building the homes on land donated by the Haitian government.

The first phase of a major home-building project on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince is almost complete.

The Inter-American Development Bank funded the site development in Orangers and half of the cost of every home, while the other half is being matched by caring donors of Food For The Poor. Eighty-six of the 100 homes in the initial phase have been completed, a feat that reinforces the charity’s capacity and efficiency in the rebuilding of Haiti.

More than 2,400 homes have been built by the charity in Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake. While 1.3 million people were initially left homeless by the earthquake, about 600,000 are still without shelter, according to the United Nations’ shelter committee.  Getting the people out of the makeshift tents pitched in the city’s parks, plazas and public places is a challenge because most have no place to go.

“The people who will live in these homes are among the poorest of the displaced people directly affected by the earthquake, and living in tents and other makeshift shelters around the city,” said Alvaro Pereira, Executive Vice President of Food For The Poor. “This development is not only providing the dignity and safety of homes, but also offering hope through jobs.”

Meaningful change in Haiti will come through self-sustaining programs, allowing Haitians to take the reins of their own future by providing jobs that will help support the country’s people and local economy. That kind of economic impact is evident in the Orangers project. More than 75 people who are heads of households are building the homes, directly impacting the economic wellbeing of almost 300 people. Another 140 or so are benefitting from selling supplies, foods and other commodities in the local markets.

The people who will live in these homes are among the poorest of those displaced by the January 2010 earthquake.

“Since the quake, we have escalated our homebuilding in Haiti,” said Robin Mahfood , President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “It is heartbreaking to see the conditions in which people are living, and it is dangerous to their health and safety. By working together with IDB and our loyal and generous donors, we have been able to get some of the displaced out of the tent cities. There are so many more that urgently need our help.”  

There are other signs of progress in Port-au-Prince. Food For The Poor celebrated the opening of the Jean-Marie Gilloux School on Wednesday. The two-level building is near the ruins of the famed Notre Dame d’Haiti Cathedral.

Three more schools are also being constructed, and each school is being built with earthquake resistant materials. More than 3,400 students will benefit from the construction of the four new schools.

Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.

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Kathy Skipper
Food For The Poor
Public Relations Director
954-427-2222 x 6614