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Building back -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Building back

Core houses are a part of Habitat’s rebuilding efforts in Haiti. These small houses are permanent, well-built structures designed so that homeowners can add on as their families grow and finances allow.

The concept of core houses springs directly from progressive housing, which has proven effective in Asia/Pacific and other regions where Habitat builds, including Chile. In the progressive housing model, families take out small loans to repair or renovate their home. Once that loan is repaid, they can apply for additional loans as needed to expand or improve the house.

In Haiti, Habitat’s core houses will feature a single room with concrete floors, corrugated iron sheet roofs, concrete block walls and a separate latrine. The Haiti core house will include earthquake-resistant features that will help reduce damages in any future disasters. Steel bars are embedded in the block walls, for instance, to help absorb stress. Also, walls are built with reinforced concrete footings, columns and a bond beam that absorbs and resists the horizontal forces of an earthquake.

In Chile, progressive houses are built with two rooms and a bathroom, when required. Many existing homes in Chile already have benefited from a government program that built a bathroom on the grounds of the house, and many of those structures survived the earthquake. Whatever the size, the wooden structure of the Habitat Chile house sits on a concrete foundation, its walls are composed of an insulated “sandwich” system, and its roof is likewise composed of layered insulated materials that are covered with a zinc/aluminum combination that reflects the heat of the sun.

Building these small houses allows Habitat to have a greater impact on more people in desperate need of permanent housing, getting them out of makeshift shelters in the short term and putting them in a better position to improve their own situation as circumstances improve long-term.

Watch a video about the Haiti core house design.