Trinidad and Tobago -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Trinidad and Tobago
Substandard housing in Trinidad often means unstable structures that are dangerous and poor protection from weather.
Community leaders in Trinidad and Tobago received approval to open a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in 1996. Shortly afterwards, the keys to the first Habitat house were handed to a family in Sangre Grande. Since then, Habitat houses have gone up in two other communities: Mayaro and Rio Claro.
The average Habitat house in Trinidad and Tobago measures 22 x 24 square feet. Monthly mortgage payments over a 15-year period range between TT$200 (US$36) and TT$300 (US$49), which represent a much more affordable cost than the average rent. Habitat houses are built using the culturally preferred materials for construction – concrete blocks and galvanized roofs.
HFH Trinidad and Tobago serves the housing needs of persons in the low-income bracket. Statistics released by the nation’s Ministry of Housing showed that for the period between 1995 and 2005, the number of housing units needed for low-income families was 48,115.
The housing demand stems mainly from the growth in population. The major factors that prevent the low-income earner from homeownership are varied but often include unwillingness by financial institutions to finance mortgages for this income bracket, as there are risks related to unstable employment and therefore the ability to pay. The spiraling costs of houses and land, as well as a lack of ownership certifications of inherited land, are other barriers for families living in inadequate conditions.
Location: Caribbean Sea
Climate: tropical; rainy season June to December
Economy: based mainly on petroleum exports, manufacturing, mining and agriculture
Government: parliamentary democracy
Religion: predominantly Christian
Literacy: 98 percent
Language: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish