Argentina -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Recognizing the need for decent housing in Argentina, in 1992 Habitat for Humanity International established operations in this country and built six houses in the Olavarría, Buenos Aires province.
After a 7-year absence, a group of teachers, staff and parents of a local school and a pastor of the city of Luján both contacted HFHI in 1999 to evaluate the possibility of reestablishing a Habitat for Humanity office in Argentina.
In 2003, an HFH office opens in Luján and a project, entitled “Reconstructing Santa Fe, One House at a Time,” is initiated to assist families affected by the flooding of the Salado River that same year.
In 2004, construction of the first houses begins in Santa Fe, with the technology and collaboration of a local university. Families were offered two and three dormitory houses or progressive houses with cross ventilation, an added benefit in warm and humid areas.
Three-room houses have an estimated cost of US$4,830, to be repaid in a period of up to 12 years.
The day after construction begins in Santa Fe, the foundations of the first two houses are set Luján, with a traditional design and an approximate cost of US$5,700, to be paid in 15 years.
In December 2001, Argentina suffered an economic collapse that left 50 percent of the population below the poverty line. Consequently, an interdisciplinary group from HFH whose aim was to reach the poorest, designed a 4-level program aimed at reaching families with different incomes and needs
Currently, one third of the population, that is 3,500,000 homes, lives in inadequate housing conditions. Overcrowded houses constitute 14.4 percent of the total. Slightly over 16 percent are living in damaged houses that must be completely replaced (www.ciempro.org.ar).
Half of the housing problems could be solved by refurbishing or finishing the houses. However, more than 30 percent needs a new house in order to live decently.
In Argentina, loan facilities for acquiring a house are very restricted, mainly because of the inflation processes that affected the economy in the last decades. According to a study carried out by an interdisciplinary group of professionals in 2003, a little less than one fourth of owners (about 1,391,221 homes) acquired their house by means of some kind of loan.
Location: South America
Economy: industry includes food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel
Literacy: 96.2 percent
Religion: predominantly Christian
Languages: Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French