November 14, 2008
In the midst of a housing crisis in which thousands of families are losing their homes, Habitat for Humanity is determined to continue building hope. After marking milestone growth with house number 300,000, Habitat turns toward the 1.5 billion people worldwide still in need of adequate shelter, and breaks ground on number 300,001.
José Miguel and Karlita Saloj belong to one of the 300,000 families worldwide that can celebrate a higher quality of life, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.
Guatemala (November 2008) – Amidst a tone of celebration, Habitat for Humanity International will continue its commitment to families still in need of adequate shelter by breaking ground on its 300,001st house, just one day after having reached the 300,000th house milestone. The signpost event will take place on November 14 in Zacapa, Guatemala.
While the 300,000th house receives its finishing touches in Naples, Florida, Habitat for Humanity will be busy revving up for the construction of house number 300,001, in Zacapa—a region that suffers one of the lowest levels of community and social development in Guatemala. More than 1,200 Habitat houses have been built in the department, helping some 7,500 people.
In an act of organizational solidarity, representatives of Habitat for Humanity El Salvador, Honduras and the hosting organization in Guatemala will join hands, together with partner families and volunteers, in the construction the 300,001st house. In addition, construction of this home is made possible by a contribution by Habitat of Collier County, Florida, which has supported the construction of over 100 Habitat homes in Guatemala since the partnership began in 2004.
“It’s truly an extraordinary accomplishment to reach the 300,000th house milestone,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International. “Throughout this journey, so many lives have been changed -- from the families who now live in decent homes to the volunteers whose hard work and compassion have helped build them. However, as much as we have to celebrate, we are equally humbled by the extent of the housing problem worldwide. We realize we have so much more to do, and we’ll continue building upon the momentum that each of these 300,000 homes has helped generate.”
Medelsonne and Rose Garraux will be the homeowners of Habitat’s 300,000th house. Natives of Haiti, the Garrauxes were granted asylum in the United States following violence in their native country. The couple moved to Naples with their young son in 2004, and has since added two daughters to the family. The family of five has been living in a two-bedroom apartment that costs about 40 percent of the family’s income. Their housing costs will be reduced by nearly a third when they move into their new Habitat home.
Everson Galdamez and his wife Wendy Liliana Pérez, residents of Quebrada Honda in Cabañas, Zacapa, will be the owners of the 300,001st home. They currently reside in a clay house with a bamboo frame and a dirt floor. “The conditions are not suitable for the healthy development of our four-year old child,” says Wendy. The family’s current house will come down in order that Habitat staff, donors, volunteers and homeowners can join hands to build a sturdy and attractive cinderblock home in its place.
“It’s a tremendous pleasure for Habitat Guatemala to be part of this celebration,” said Luis Samayoa, national director of HFH Guatemala. “It is not only an opportunity for us to show our commitment to the families in Guatemala and across the world in need of adequate housing, but also proof that by working together we can make a sincere difference in each other’s lives.”
About Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
Habitat for Humanity Guatemala was the first national program in the Latin America/Caribbean region, and has built more than 28,000 homes since its inception in 1979. Roughly one Habitat home is built in Guatemala every three hours, and the local organization accounts for some 50 percent of all Habitat homes built in the region. For more information, visit www.habitatguate.org .