Mexico -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
The former residence of the Isidoro family, now Habitat homeowners.
Habitat houses under construction at the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2004 in Puebla, Mexico.
Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to alleviate poverty in Mexico date back to 1988, when it started working in two communities, Dexthi Alberto in Chihuahua and San Pedro Capula in Hidalgo. Two years later, when it was legally constituted as a civil organization, it developed a more extensive national program that today covers 15 states, making it one of the largest HFH programs in all of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Habitat houses shelter families in rural, semi-urban and urban areas. The average house goes up in roughly three weeks, measuring between 42 to 49 m². In compliance with urban housing code requirements, Habitat houses in cities measure the minimum 60 m² and have electrical and plumbing installations.
Construction materials vary from region to region. In order to reduce house costs, HFH tries to use as much of the areas’ local materials as possible. For example, roofs may be built of galvanized zinc or reinforced concrete, and walls may stand with bricks, adobe or concrete blocks. Materials also vary depending on the area’s climate and susceptibility to earthquakes and hurricanes.
The average Habitat house has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a living-dining room and either a dry latrine or toilet. Partner families pay their loan in an average of seven years through monthly installments (about US$74), a much more affordable cost than rents paid for inadequate shelter (roughly US$100 to US$200).
Of the employed population, about one third of Mexicans, seven million earn less than the minimum wage. Ten million make less than two minimum wages a day. This means that more than half of Mexico’s employed population makes US$30 dollars a month or less. Yet these workers support half of the nation’s families.
Government estimates state that one million families live in substandard housing, but these calculations do not include the many families who rent rooms or live cramped inside another family member’s home--like many of the families HFH serves. When considering these families, HFH Mexico estimates that the housing need rises to a staggering two million families, or about 10 million people.
Location: North America
Climate: varies: tropical to desert
Economy: industry includes state- and private-owned manufacturing and services; large-scale traditional agriculture
Religion: predominantly Christian
Literacy: 90 percent
Language: Spanish, Amerindian