Costa Rica -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Substandard housing in San Ramon, Costa Rica.
Saray Sanchez Ponnas is pictured with her sons Edwin Josue Gonzalez Sanchez, 12, and Emmanual Gonzalez Sanchez, 4, in front of their Habitat house. Saray says, "I'm very proud to have given to my kids what I always dreamed of-- a home. I hope other families in need go through the same experience and that they never lose their hope. God opens doors to people and helps them to leave sufferings behind."
In 1988, Habitat began work in the Costa Rican city of Esparza. In its first three years, the Esparza affiliate built 50 houses. Then, in 1991, with the introduction of an ambitious government-housing program that gave houses to the poor, HFH ceased construction in Costa Rica. However, due to large cutbacks in the government program, and with an estimated 35 percent of the Costa Rican population living in substandard housing, HFH was invited to begin work in San Ramón in 1996, where it is currently headquartered.
Today, hundreds of homes have been built with the support of many local and international churches as well as businesses. The average cost of a Habitat house in Costa Rica is US$6,000.
The program is focusing on ways to reach those families that have even fewer resources, through initiatives like “progressive” housing, houses built in stages; repair, enlargement, improve and completion of houses.
In the present Habitat Costa Rica is focusing on housing built with government allowance by collective projects.
Habitat Costa Rica is a member of Cámara de Entidades Financiadoras de Vivienda de Interés Social (CEFIVIS).
HFH Costa Rica reaches out to communities located in Esparza, Nicoya, Monteverde, San Ramón, Alajuela, Cartago, Buenos Aires and Río Claro. Two more affiliates will be established soon in San José and the Atlantic coast.
Habitat houses are built using cinder block walls, tin roofs and cement floors.
Though Costa Rica has a fairly stable economy, large government deficits—due to interest payments on exorbitant internal debt—have undermined efforts to maintain the quality of social services. Inflation rates remain at more than 10 percent while an estimated 35 percent of the population lives in substandard housing.
Location: Central America
Climate: tropical and sub-tropical
Economy: industry includes food processing, textiles and clothing, construction materials, and plastic products, Tourism, High-Tech Production.
Literacy: 95 percent
Religion: predominantly Christian