Beyond Harford & Cecil Counties – Habitat Susquehanna Abroad
Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna is committed to being a part of the solution to housing affordability both locally and globally.
Beyond Maryland: The Gulf Region
Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna was quick to respond in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We sent three teams of volunteers on week-long builds to the Gulf Region.
Staff members also worked on two recovery trips to Alabama and Mississippi.
Beyond the United States:
Habitat Susquehanna not only serves the local community, but the nation and the world through regular tithing and Global Village trips.
With our past Global Village trips to El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, Kenya, and Malawi, we have made an impact to housing affordability on the global scale.
Our Habitat International Tithe Partners:
In September 2018, we received a certificate from Habitat for Humanity International congratulating us for the “significant increase in tithe.”
With a lifetime tithe of more than $800,000, Habitat Susquehanna has helped more than 190 families in Haiti, Kenya, El Salvador and Malawi (see descriptions below).
Follow on Twitter and Instagram @HabitatTithe to learn more about Habitat International’s tithe program and its impact on families around the world.
Habitat for Humanity Haiti
Excerpt of a September 2022 letter of thanks from Habitat Haiti to Habitat Susquehanna (for its tithe): “As we marked the one-year anniversary of the earthquake which struck the south of Haiti on August 14, 2021, we continue to work as hard as ever to serve Haitian families. As part of our response, Habitat Haiti has launched several projects to help families rebuild. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Habitat Haiti formed quick partnerships to bring emergency relief in the form of non-food items to those affected. Many families found themselves homeless, lacking the necessities, such as hygiene products, to live their lives with dignity. Habitat Haiti was able to supply over 15,000 individuals who had been left homeless, or were otherwise deeply affected by the earthquake, with hygiene and shelter kits. After the initial emergency response, we turned our focus to what we do best: long-term recovery. With several construction projects now ongoing in the South and Grand’Anse areas, we have plans to build 61 new homes over the next year, serving over 300 people with safe, decent, and affordable housing. We are grateful for your continued support and are keeping each of you, our global community, in our thoughts and prayers.
When the earthquake struck, it destroyed or damaged more than 135,000 homes. Habitat Haiti had built more than 300 homes in the region five years earlier, and 98% of these homes withstood the earthquake without suffering any serious damage, thanks to extensive bracing systems used in the construction of the houses.”
Information from Habitat for Humanity International on the housing need in Haiti:
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. According to the World Bank, more than half of its population lives in poverty, and approximately 24% is in extreme poverty. Political instability, food shortages, unemployment, a lack of basic infrastructure, and disasters have kept most Haitians trapped in a cycle of poverty for generations.
In the last decade, the need for housing has increased dramatically every year. The 2010 earthquake destroyed the homes of 1.5 million people. In 2016, another 140,000 were left without shelter after Hurricane Matthew hit. More recently, in August 2021, an earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 130,000 homes.
On August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti’s southwestern peninsula causing significant damage in the region, including the cities of Les Cayes, Jérémie, and Anse-à-Veaux. Nearly 53,000 homes were destroyed, and another 77,000 houses were severely damaged, according to Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency. Immediately after the earthquake, we deployed a team to assess the shelter needs in the impacted area and create response options for early recovery and reconstruction.
As in previous responses to hurricanes and earthquakes in the country, we partner with other organizations to address the vital and urgent needs of families, while helping them on their path to permanent housing. We build on our experience following our responses to major disasters. These included the massive 2010 earthquake that saw Habitat rebuilding and repairing devastated communities. In 2016, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Habitat repaired severely damaged homes, built new ones, and provided training to local masons to improve home construction techniques to reduce vulnerability.
Major barriers to land tenure in Haiti include a lack of official land documentation, low exchange value of lands, and a lack of an efficient land information system. In early 2019, Habitat Haiti launched a program in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development to help households in three municipalities prove tenure security and increase the number of parcels registered in the land administration systems.
Housing solutions for seniors
In Haiti, older people are vulnerable to poverty, homelessness, and diseases due to a lack of governmental and societal support. Habitat Haiti is working in low-income, rural communities in the southwest to provide older people with access to safe, decent, and affordable housing with latrines and water collection tanks. In 2021, Habitat constructed 15 homes for seniors and plans to construct 15 more in 2022.
Habitat for Humanity Kenya
Excerpt of a September 2022 letter of thanks from Habitat Kenya to Habitat Susquehanna (for its tithe): “Tithe support increases our capacity to reach more families in poor communities that are usually not catered for in the traditional donor funding. With this donation HFH Kenya will be able to provide decent housing to six vulnerable families in Rangwe Village, Homabay County, Kenya.”
Information from Habitat for Humanity International on the housing need in Kenya:
Kenya has an annual housing demand of 250,000 units with an estimated supply of 50,000 units, culminating in a housing deficit of 2 million units, or 80% deficit. Housing affordability is a key challenge in Kenya with many people unable to afford to buy or build their own home. Only 2% of the formally constructed houses target lower-income families. About 6.4 million people, or of Kenya’s urban population live in informal settlements. Many families are at high risk of diseases such as malaria, respiratory infections and/or parasitic jiggers infestation.
Orphans and Vulnerable Groups housing
Habitat Kenya supports marginalized and/or vulnerable groups in communities such as orphans, widows, the elderly, persons living with disability, etc., who are living in dilapidated housing conditions, lack access to water and proper sanitation facilities and earn less than US$1 a day. Habitat Kenya mobilizes global and local volunteers and community/corporate partners to help build affordable, low-cost houses and promote home ownership for these vulnerable groups as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty.
In addition to intervening at the individual and household levels, Habitat Kenya provides solutions that benefit and impact whole communities such as water and sanitation and energy solutions, construction of schools and other community infrastructure.
Through our advocacy program, we empower women and other vulnerable groups to secure land tenure through formal and informal mechanisms of land ownership. We also support county government policymakers to promote policies, laws and systems and practices that advance access to adequate and affordable improved housing conditions and living standards.
We seek to build the economic well-being of community members by training women, youth and other community groups on financial literacy, the production and marketing of alternative building materials (such as interlocking stabilized soil blocks), and training of construction artisans (known in Kenya as fundis) on appropriate building technology and quality standards.
Housing delivery is the responsibility of county governments, which often lack adequate resources. Also, 68% of Kenyans are without land documentation or tenure security.
Habitat Susquehanna’s “Kenya Krew”
Did you know that in August 2013, Habitat Susquehanna sent a team to Kisii, Kenya to help build a home for a low-income family? The “Kenya Krew” wrote about their experience: www.kenyakrew.wordpress.com. You can also check out photos from the trip at https://habitatforhumanitykenya.shutterfly.com/
Habitat for Humanity El Salvador
Information from Habitat for Humanity International on the housing need in El Salvador:
El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in the Central American region. Eight out of every 10 Salvadorans live in inadequate conditions, according to a 2016 study by INCAE and Habitat for Humanity. Based on a 2019 multipurpose household survey of the Ministry of Economy, three in 10 households live in multidimensional poverty.
Many families lack access to clean water and safe sanitation, education, financing to improve their homes, and land ownership. El Salvador is among the world’s most disaster-prone countries, with 88.7% of the territory considered to be at risk and a vast majority of the population, or 95.4%, living in those areas.
Building homes and communities
Habitat El Salvador builds affordable homes with families and enables them to make housing improvements, depending on their needs. Each project is carried out in accordance with the national and international construction standards. We have also produced a catalog with house designs and three funding modalities: credit, credit subsidy, and subsidy.
Risk management and disaster response
We work together with authorities, partners, and communities in responding to disasters through the rehabilitation and construction of permanent or temporary housing. Habitat El Salvador also launched awareness campaigns about COVID-19 and distributed hygiene kits to vulnerable families in response to the pandemic, in coordination with the Humanitarian Country Team.
Our projects strengthen communities through comprehensive, innovative, and resilient development. Thanks to the support of volunteers and allies, local and international, we impact more families through projects such as:
- Construyendo empoderamiento con mujeres or Building empowerment with women. We have partnered with 50 women and their families through housing construction or improvements, productive ventures, and seed capital. By empowering women, we promote gender equality in access to housing and development, leading to healthier homes and a better quality of life.
- Juntos construyendo mi casa or Together building my house. While Habitat’s masons build safe and stable homes with Salvadoran families with great commitment and responsibility, many of them do not have a decent place to live. Through this project, nine Habitat masons and their families have already improved their housing conditions and we plan to serve 51 more masons.
Habitat Susquehanna’s 2013 collaboration with six Maryland-based Habitat affiliates:
In April of 2013, a collaboration of six Maryland-based Habitat affiliates joined in partnership with the Morazan Departmental Government, Meanguera Municipal Government, and El Barrial ADESCO. Building Community is a four-year project focused on sustainable development and improving the quality of life for the families living there. Habitat Susquehanna, along with five other affiliates, will help to fund and build 45 new homes, and repair another 45, over the next four years. Habitat Maryland will raise $638,800 to sponsor the project and will send at least two volunteer teams per year to help work on construction. The groundbreaking and construction of the first five homes began in July, thanks to the help of 22 international volunteers from two teams representing HFH Metro Maryland, and 64 national volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity Malawi
Excerpt of an August 2022 letter of thanks from Habitat Malawi to Habitat Susquehanna (for its tithe): “The provision of a house has brought hope, security, dignity and independence to our families. It has opened more opportunities for us to easily access other family needs. We are better now than ever. thank you for your support Habitat Susquehanna.”
Information from Habitat for Humanity International on the housing need in Malawi:
Habitat for Humanity Malawi was established in 1986. Malawi has about 4.8 million housing units of which 58.9% are sub-standards homes. These houses are characterized by mud walls and grass thatched roofs and the families in these housing units live with little hope of ever being able to afford a decent house. To meet the current housing demand, approximately 21,000 new units must be constructed for the next 10 years.
Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a path out of poverty, Habitat Malawi has helped over 41,000 families to access decent housing. We emphasize housing for vulnerable groups; water, sanitation and hygiene; Disaster Risk Reduction and Response; informal vocation training; and security of land tenure.
Housing for vulnerable groups
Habitat Malawi provides fully subsidized houses and sanitation facilities to orphans and other vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities, in rural communities. The program also provides complementary services to the targeted households, including trainings about malaria, HIV and property and inheritance rights.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
Our program seeks to improve the sanitation status and well-being of slum dwellers and those in rural communities. Key program interventions include construction of sustainable and user-friendly facilities for water, sanitation and hygiene, or WASH; hygiene and sanitation campaigns for communities; and capacity building of WASH management structures.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Response
We work in disaster-affected communities to help people prepare, respond and adapt to disaster while empowering local communities on how they can build back better and safer homes. In this program, we help build disaster-resilient houses with affected families and equip the local masons with knowledge and skills on building houses to withstand disasters.
Informal vocational skills training
This program is aimed at contributing to increased inclusive access to equitable, sustainable, informal and formal technical entrepreneurial and vocational education training. We offer six months informal training to disadvantaged youths in brick laying and making, and in carpentry and joinery.
We advocate for increased access to land and housing, and promote policies and systems that increase access to decent housing for vulnerable and low-income groups in Malawi.