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Core houses




Watch an animated video about Habitat’s Core House Design: A practical way of helping thousands of families start anew.


Replacing destroyed homes
As soon as conditions on the ground realistically allow, Habitat will begin replacing destroyed homes using a core house model.

Permanent structures with room to grow
Core houses are small, but well-constructed and durable, permanent structures that provide adequate living space and sanitation facilities for the average Haitian family of five.

The house, which involves flooring and a roof with a single room, a door and windows, provides provision for water and sanitation and complies with international humanitarian standards.

Core houses are designed with the expectation that the homeowner partner will add on to the structure―expanding its square footage―when circumstances permit.

Earthquake-resistant design
Core houses are designed with earthquake-resistant features that work as a whole system to resist damage in the event of another earthquake. These structural features include:

  • Walls with embedded steel bars.
    All cells surrounding doors and windows will contain embedded steel bars. Additionally, each wall will have a horizontal steel bar for every two layers of blocks. The steel bars will absorb the shear stress of an earthquake.
    A portion of the walls will be constructed with concrete blocks. Other materials used may include pre-fabricated micro concrete panels, interlocking blocks and compressed earth block.
  • Reinforced concrete footings, columns and a bond (ring) beam which tie the concrete block walls together.
    The bond beam absorbs and resists the horizontal forces of an earthquake―transmitting these forces to the columns, footings and eventually to the ground. Additionally, the columns are designed to resist and absorb bending movements.
  • Properly supported, light roof structure.
    Our core house design uses a light roof structure and roof cover, in addition to a proper structural system.

Help Habitat build core houses for Haitian families
Thousands of core houses will be needed, and Habitat is committed to building as many as funding allows. Estimated post-earthquake cost is about US$4,000 to US$6,000 per unit, depending on local conditions and design.

Please donate to Habitat’s Haiti earthquake fund today.