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Habitat for Humanity’s three-fold disaster response benefiting Haitian families affected by the earthquake

Relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities are under way

ATLANTA (July 12, 2010) —As part of a three-fold response in its goal to serve 50,000 families affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, Habitat for Humanity has assembled more than 21,000 emergency shelter kits, conducted more than 2,000 home safety evaluations and is building up to 70 transitional shelters per week. To date, Habitat has built nearly 400 transitional shelters.

“We’ve made steady progress over the past six months in helping Haiti to rebuild,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “By working closely with our partners and staying focused on our mission to provide families with pathways to permanence, we are beginning to make a significant impact on the lives of families in need. “

Habitat emergency shelter kits, which represent the first phase of Habitat’s response, contain tools families can use to make immediate repairs and help construct temporary shelters. The kits are being distributed by Habitat partners to Haitians left homeless by the earthquake.

As part of the second phase of its response, Habitat’s rehabilitation solutions include helping families to remove or recycle debris from their home sites, organizing unaffected families to host affected families and constructing transitional shelters, the materials for which can be reused or recycled into permanent housing. Transitional shelter recipients own the shelter material, regardless of land ownership status.

Habitat’s transitional shelters are part of a larger initiative coordinated by the U.N. Haiti Shelter Cluster to provide a total of 125,000 transitional shelters by summer 2011, providing a safe place to live for approximately 625,000 people.

Habitat’s reconstruction solutions include repairing houses and building upgradable transitional shelters. Habitat will also build onto existing host family homes, as needed, and design and plan whole communities. Habitat’s upgradable transitional shelters have a permanent foundation and represent the first stage of a permanent house. Upgradable transitional shelters are built with families who own their own land. This approach allows Habitat to more rapidly meet the immediate shelter needs of more families while also helping them to incrementally upgrade over time.

Habitat is also performing structural damage assessments in affected houses and advising families whether their home is livable, needs repairs or should be demolished. With 2,000 assessments already complete, Habitat’s goal is to assess 15,000 houses by the end of 2010, in areas hit hard by the earthquake: Port-au-Prince, Léogâne, Cabaret and Jacmel.

“Availability of land on which to build transitional shelters and permanent homes remains a critical issue for Habitat and all shelter organizations,” said Claude Jeudy, national director for Habitat for Humanity Haiti. “Habitat is working diligently to acquire land for landless families left homeless by the earthquake and advocating strongly for the prompt establishment of a clear, equitable land rights system.”

About Habitat for Humanity Haiti
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 risk reduction 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 www.habitat.org.