- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 1979
- Families served in 2017: 11,046
- Families served to date: 100,000 and counting
- Volunteers hosted to date: More than 35,000
Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala
Habitat for Humanity Guatemala is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality of life of Guatemalan families through partial or full funding for the construction, improvement and repair of homes across the country.
The housing need in Guatemala
According to the Central American Association for Housing (Asociación Centroamericana para la Vivienda - ACENVI), the housing deficit in Guatemala exceeds 1.6 million households, including dilapidated housing, rented and overcrowded. To this is also added the need for basic services such as potable water, sanitation, electricity, and families that still cook with open fires in rural areas.
Habitat’s contribution in Guatemala
Habitat Guatemala has contributed to the reduction of 5.68% of the country’s housing deficit, both qualitative and quantitative. Our commitment is that all Guatemalans inhabit adequate housing. As of April 2018, we have helped a total of 100,000 families, with construction, improvement and home repairs, also covering the sector in extreme poverty with small but significant impact on family health solutions.
- Local: They are volunteers from local committees to promote community development representing their community to Habitat and representing Habitat in their communities.
- National: These are groups of people who have the desire to support families in the construction process with unskilled labor, usually working for six hours on weekends, can be open, from educational institutions, businesses, organizations, embassies, etc.
- International: These are groups of between 12 and 16 international volunteers working in the field 5 days, at least 8 hours a day. Without their support, the families would have to bear the cost of unskilled labor.
Financing for housing
Funding for families is offered, with better benefits than the national financial system, with affordable installments, few requirements and ease of payments.
It supports families to build, improve or repair their homes, meeting national quality standards and those proposed housing by Habitat for Humanity International. Monitoring of the construction process by way of monitoring visits by trained personnel is also offered. Quality materials and structural system that comply with the rules of AGIES (Guatemalan Association of Structural Engineers and Seismic) and ICCG (Institute of Cement and Concrete of Guatemala) are used.
2011 saw the start of the Healthy Home Kit program to support communities and families living in extreme poverty by providing partial subsidies to access products that improve their quality of life, which includes: smokeless stoves, ventilated pit latrines, water filters and training to change some habits that are affecting their quality of life.
Meet a Habitat family
For more than 12 years, the Roman family rented a house and was eventually presented with the opportunity to buy land. Unfortunately the happiness of having their new plot of land was overshadowed when they were evicted from their rented home.
Without a place to move, the Roman family found a small cave near their lot, and not having the necessary inputs for the construction of their house, they made the difficult decision to live in it. For 12 months, the family found a place to shelter from inclement weather in this cave. The affiliate of Baja Verapaz was notified of this case, and when he realized the situation, began the process of construction, which had the support of more than 25 volunteers, family and friends, who in record time completed the construction.
Now the Roman family has adequate housing, knowing that with their effort and daily work, they can continue to improve their quality of life and thrive. By working pottery, every month they earn enough for the needs of their home, as well as the children’s and youngsters studies. “I am happy because I have my house, my children have a place to spend the night, we no longer sleep outside, and we no longer sleep in the street. Thanks also to Habitat, they always opened the door and that I will never forget, for as much help they have given me”, said Juliana Roman.
What you can do
You can help families in need in Guatemala, currently living in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions, by one or more of the following:
Volunteer: Join one of Global Village’s scheduled trips to Guatemala or organize your own brigade.
To learn more about Habitat’s programs in Guatemala, please contact:
Víctor Velásquez, National Director
Makensie Brown, Director of International Resource Development