Habitat for Humanity Guyana
Habitat's work in Guyana
Housing need in Guyana
According to Guyana’s government, 5,200 homes must be built each year for 10 years to meet the national housing need, while some 20 percent of Guyanese are illegally squatting. The government of Guyana stated in its 2001 “Guyana Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper” that poor housing infrastructure and high land costs were major issues contributing to the country’s severe poverty crisis. Some 35 percent live below the poverty line, with 19 percent living under conditions of extreme poverty. These poor lack equal access to land and housing opportunities.
In many areas families endure leaking roofs and woefully inadequate space, with lack of privacy and sanitary facilities such as toilets or running water only the beginning of their challenges. They live in weak structures, many on the verge of collapse, with rotten walls, rusty and curled roof sheets or parts of the roof missing, and holes in the floor covered with cardboard. If windows exist, they are often covered with cardboard, zinc or wood. Families with four to 10 members frequently live in single-room houses, with either no toilet, or a toilet and kitchen outdoors.
Habitat for Humanity in Guyana
Habitat for Humanity starts working in Guyana in 1994 in respond to President Cheddi Jagan’s request to spread Habitat’s work to the country. Habitat for Humanity Guyana is organized as a nonprofit organization under the laws of Guyana and received its official affiliation with Habitat for Humanity International in 1995. In 2003, it celebrated the completion of its 200th house and received Habitat for Humanity International’s regional award for achievement in advocacy.
The vision of Habitat Guyana is a Guyana without substandard housing. Habitat Guyana recognizes that it cannot achieve this alone and believes that it must maintain a sustainable organizational structure and develop a broad base of support, while developing strategic alliances with other like-minded groups that share a common vision.
In the last few years, Habitat Guyana has become more community focused in an effort to advance the social production of housing in impoverished communities. To achieve this we are diversifying our services, the regions in which we work, partnering with communities to plan and implement prioritized initiatives and positioning our program to play a leading role in facilitating access to adequate housing and community development services.
As products of Fiscal Year 2013 Habitat Guyana accomplished the construction of 21 new homes and one Community Centre, also 42 Construction Technical Assistances were given and 260 persons were trained in Community Development.
Beharry Build: Using joint-marketing as a strategy, this project provides housing financing for home for extremely marginalized families. Status: currently implementing.
Scotia Bank Build-a-home: Raises awareness and housing financing through the sale of Soctia mortgages. These finances go toward financing disability friendly homes for persons living with disabilities. Status: currently implementing.
Habitat Guyana Volunteer Program: The Habitat for Humanity Guyana Volunteer Program is a structured approach to working with communities and volunteers in the following areas: (1) housing construction; (2) disaster risk reduction; (3) financial literacy; (4) youth development and leadership training and community mobilization and advocacy. Status: Very new, would require more partnerships and allies.
Habitat Guyana Resource Centre: Habitat’s first Resource Centre in Guyana was established in partnership with Builders Beyond Borders and the Festival City Parent and Youth Organization. The centre will provide training and a platform for community engagement in disaster risk reduction, training in housing support services, financial literacy, information communication technology and basic numeracy and literacy for residents, especially young people. Status: Very new, would require more partnerships and allies.
Increasing access to externally financed low income mortgages: Through partnerships with local banks, Habitat for Humanity Guyana provides assistance to marginalized families to help them acquire low cost mortgages from local banks. Status: More advocacy support required
Disability friendly housing: This initiative seeks to raise awareness and financing to help persons with disability access adequate housing or make functional improvements to existing houses. Status: Very new, would require more partnerships and allies.
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean.