Hábitat para la Humanidad Dominican Republic
Habitat's work in Dominican Republic
Housing need in the Dominican Republic
The most recent official studies highlight that the housing deficit in the Dominican Republic is estimated at 600,000 units. Fifty-five percent of this deficit is poor quality housing, rather than homelessness.
According to the figures provided by the United States Agency for International Development, in 1998, Hurricane George worsened the problem even more, increasing the number of families living in inadequate conditions to over 700,000.
Data from the National Housing Institute reveals that at least 49,000 houses were destroyed by George, and 121,000 others were damaged and in need of repair. The greatest percentage of this deficit is found in the country’s southwestern zone.
In the rural countryside, there is a great amount of inadequate housing. Most of the houses are made of tejamanil (a soil and manure mixture). There are also some made of wood, but in poor condition, and even others made out of empty oil drum tins. Many of these houses have dirt floors that constitute a health risk, due to the constant dust they create and the rodents and insects that they invite. Most affected by these unsanitary conditions, are children.
Each day it is more difficult for low-income families to acquire adequate housing conditions. Their monthly income does not allow them to save the purchase price of a house, and bank loans are granted at a very high interest rate. Another issue is land ownership. While many families have built their homes and lived on the same land for years, they do not have legal ownership; even if they have purchased the land informally from another family, often the property legally belongs to the state, a company or an institution.
In addition, these properties lack basic infrastructure. In many cases, paved roads, potable water, electricity, sewage systems and garbage waste management are almost non-existent—especially in rural zones. Often, the only land available is on steep slopes or in ravines, where the inhabitants are in danger from regular flooding and mudslides.
Habitat for Humanity in the Dominican Republic
Habitat for Humanity’s first 53 houses in the Dominican Republic were built in 1989, in los Cocos in the Barahona province.
Habitat for Humanity has built in nine regions of the Dominican Republic: Barahona, Paraíso, Polo, Jaquimeyes, Tamayo, Nagua, San Juan de la Maguana, San Francisco de Macorísand the city of Santo Domingo.
In these regions, people live in houses made of wood, palm trees or discarded materials, which are roofed with rusty corrugated tin sheets. In many cases, there are two families living in just one house, and it is not uncommon to find grandparents, parents and children living in the same room and sharing beds.
Concrete blocks, cement, iron rods, sand and gravel are used to build houses in the Dominican Republic. These materials are weather-resistant, since there are annual hurricane threats from July to November. These materials can be easily purchased in the country, although at a very high price.
As products of Fiscal Year 2013 HFHDR accomplished the construction of 15 new homes, 667 repairs and minor additions, 111 progressive individual improvements, 308 people trained in Financial Education and 88 served families with TCA, all this for a total of 1,189 served families.
Building Hope Step by Step: This Project is located in Bajos de Haina area extending to Los Alcarrizos zone. The goals are: 40 repairs, 20 progressive individual improvements and 60 benefit families with TCA service.
Building together for the San Juan de la Maguana families: The Project seeks to achieve the construction of 25 new houses. This in partnership with FUNDASEP and credit access provided by ADEMI Bank. Besides, the training of 20 families in Financial Education.
DIPECHO Consortium: This projects is estimated to last 18 months, it is taking place in Azua province. Within the operative components of the project the input results given by Habitat Dominican Republic are: 3 community infrastructure improvements, 16,800 trained persons in disaster prevention and mitigation and 50 construction workers trained in safe construction.
Microfinances for housing repair and improvement: The Project seeks 324 repairs and 81 housing improvements in Santo Domingo, Santiago, El Seibo and San Francisco de Macoris communites.
Microfinances Fund for Housing in partnership with ADOPEM: This strategic alliance works through the provision of a joint fund of US$ 100, 000; with which is expected to repair 33 houses and perform 53 improvements.
Habitat for Humanity Dominican Republic-GoodNeighbors Dominicana partnership: This partnership is developed in Los Guandules community, it consists of offering Technical Construction Assistance to 15 families so they can repair their homes.
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean.