You are here

Habitat for Humanity sets goal of helping 50,000 earthquake-affected families in Haiti improve their shelter conditions

February 9, 2010

Habitat’s multi-year plan includes distributing emergency shelter kits; debris recycling and removal; house repairs; transitional shelter; new construction; and on-the-job training in house construction skills.




Habitat for Humanity expects to help 50,000 families in Haiti who were affected by the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck near Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12. Through a multi-year effort that includes relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction, Habitat for Humanity announced today its plan to work with its partners and help improve shelter conditions.

“This is a bold goal for Habitat for Humanity, but the level of destruction and the number of families affected demands a bold response,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “In our response, we want to provide the widest range of shelter resources available so that we can have a positive impact on the greatest number of people possible.”

Habitat’s threefold plan begins with the distribution of 10,000 emergency shelter kits that contain tools and supplies to help families make immediate house repairs and construct temporary shelters on their home sites.

“We want to help families return to their homes and begin rebuilding their lives as quickly as possible,” said Reckford. “Providing these tools is an important first step in the recovery.”

The contents of Habitat’s kits include tarpaulins, rope, duct tape and a hammer, all used for building temporary shelters that help guard families against the elements. A chisel and a hacksaw help with salvaging materials from collapsed houses. Buckets are used for debris removal and for carrying water. Gloves and masks in the kits help provide protection during the cleanup. The kits are being assembled in the Dominican Republic and in Atlanta, and are being distributed in earthquake-affected areas in Haiti. The emergency shelter kits cost approximately $250 a piece, including cost of transport to Haiti.

In the rehabilitation phase, Habitat for Humanity will help families remove debris, salvage materials that can be recycled, repair homes that received minimal damage and build transitional shelters that meet basic needs. Over time as conditions improve, Habitat’s transitional shelters’ materials eventually can be incorporated into permanent housing. Habitat for Humanity transitional shelters are expected to range in cost from US$1,000 to US$2,500.

In the reconstruction phase, Habitat will build core houses, each with a separate sanitation facility. These basic housing units are permanent and resistant to earthquakes and hurricanes. They are designed to be expanded over time by the homeowner families and meet international humanitarian standards. Depending on design adjustments according to context and the cost of materials in the earthquake’s aftermath, the core houses will cost from US$4,000 to US$6,000 a piece.

To help implement these efforts in Haiti, Habitat will increase the number of its Habitat for Humanity Resource Centers in the country. Before the earthquake, Habitat already operated resource centers in Cap-Haitian and Gonaives. An expanded number of resource centers will help train people in construction skills and financial literacy. The centers may also produce construction materials, such as blocks used for house building. Habitat for Humanity Resource Centers also create additional job opportunities in local communities.

“With more than 200,000 houses severely damaged or destroyed and 1.2 million people homeless or displaced, there is a critical need for shelter in Haiti,” said Reckford. “Based on our responses to the Asian tsunami and hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the U.S. Gulf Coast, we are confident that we can empower families to improve their housing conditions by giving them the tools and then working alongside them. But Habitat for Humanity is in need of significant financial support so that we can help 50,000 families improve their lives.”

The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund has committed US$300,000 to help Habitat for Humanity provide emergency shelter kits. The German Foreign Office has given Habitat more than US$500,000 for the emergency shelter kits. Whirlpool Corp. is providing warehouse space and logistics for assembling the kits near Atlanta. The Home Depot Foundation provided funding, volunteers and in-kind support from several Home Depot suppliers. Hands On Atlanta helped to recruit volunteers. Additional support for Habitat for Humanity’s Haiti recovery efforts comes from the Ricky Martin Foundation and donations from churches, schools, individuals and civic groups.

Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for 26 years and has provided housing solutions through a variety of initiatives including new home construction, progressive building, home repairs and improvements. Habitat also builds capacity in construction skills, disaster mitigation and financial literacy, and works in coordination with community and government agencies.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit

About the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, President Barack Obama asked President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush to raise funds for immediate, high-impact relief and long-term recovery efforts to help those who are most in need of assistance. In response, the two Presidents established the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF) to respond to unmet needs in the country, foster economic opportunity, improve the quality of life over the long term for those affected, and assist the people of Haiti as they rebuild their lives and “build back better.” The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund will do this by working with and supporting the efforts of reputable 501(c)(3) nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations. Presidents Clinton and Bush oversee the CBHF through their respective nonprofit organizations, the William J. Clinton Foundation and Communities Foundation of Texas. One hundred percent of donations received by the Clinton Foundation and the Communities Foundation of Texas go directly to relief efforts. For more information, visit

About the German Foreign Office
The German Foreign Office is supporting Haiti disaster relief programs with a grant of 700.020 Euro. The grant was given to humedica – international aid, a German Christian organization engaged in international medical aid which closely cooperates with Habitat for Humanity Germany. 431.800 Euro of the grant will go to Habitat for Humanity to supply emergency shelter kits to people affected by the earthquake. The remaining amount is dedicated to medical aid for people in Haiti.

About Whirlpool Corporation
In 10 years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity®, Whirlpool Corporation has donated more than 100,000 ranges and ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators to new Habitat homes built in North America, serving 50,000 families. The company has sponsored more than 100 homes around the world and served nearly 10,000 families in Europe alone. Additionally, Whirlpool has donated more than 10,000 products to Habitat ReStores and has engaged more than 6,000 employee volunteers. A proud sponsor of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project since 2003, the value of the company’s commitment to Habitat nears $63 million. With active partnerships in 22 countries, Whirlpool plans to support every new Habitat home built globally by 2011, through product donations, cash or volunteerism. For more information, go to

About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation was created in 2002 to further the community building goals of The Home Depot. The Home Depot Foundation focuses on supporting nonprofits that are dedicated to helping families thrive by creating and preserving healthy, affordable homes as the cornerstone of sustainable communities. Our goal is for all families to have the opportunity to live in healthy, efficient homes they can afford over the long-term; to have access to safe, vibrant parks and greenspaces; and to receive the economic, social and environmental benefits of living in a sustainable community. Since its formation, The Home Depot Foundation has granted $190 million to nonprofit organizations and supported the development of more than 95,000 affordable, healthy homes. For more information, visit

About Hands On Atlanta
Founded in 1989 by a group of concerned citizens, Hands On Atlanta is one of the oldest affiliates of the HandsOn Network. During its 20-year history, Hands On Atlanta has mobilized more than 250,000 volunteers who have provided more than 6 million hours of service to more than 4,000 nonprofits and schools throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Hands On Atlanta has also operated the largest AmeriCorps program in the southeastern United States for the past 16 years, with more than 1,750 members providing tutoring, mentoring, after-school enrichment and volunteer management services for Atlanta Public Schools.

About the Ricky Martin Foundation
The Ricky Martin Foundation advocates for the well-being of children around the globe in critical areas such as social justice, education and health. Our flagship program, People for Children, condemns child exploitation. For additional information, please visit