News

Habitat Trinidad and Tobago is working with the national community to help families affected by the October Floods.

HABITAT HOMEOWNERS: Contact 489-4663 by WhatsApp and email construction@habitat-tt.org for assistance with your Habitat house

CORPORATE DONORS: Contact 782-4663 or 742-4663 and email donate@habitat-tt.org

VOLUNTEERS: Contact 398-8389 or email volunteer@habitat-tt.org or contactus@habitat-tt.org

For online donations, please go to https://www.habitat-tt.org/product/donation/

 

 

International Day for Disaster Reduction began in 1989, after a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.  Here in Trinidad and Tobago, Habitat for Humanity has been working steadily in this area, in order to properly prepare our country for unforeseen events.

Our landslide mitigation project in Moriah, Tobago helped homeowners in the sister isle build retaining walls to prevent landslips and protect their homes and community.  We also upgraded the Community Centre to a full Emergency Shelter, designed to accommodate the families in the event of a natural or manmade disater.  Local and international volunteer teams contributed thousands of hours of labour on this project.

 

 

Photo Gallery

We have trained dozens of participants from the Regional Corporations, TEMA, regional Red Cross Societies, ADRA, key Ministries and NGOS in best practices for humanitarian aid during disasters.  The international SPHERE Standards for Humanitarian Response show how communities and individuals can effectively respond to events even with limited resources at their disposal.  Photo Gallery: https://goo.gl/AAMTE7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also train community leaders in the internationally-renowned PASSA (PArticipatory Approach to Safer Shelter Access) system, developed by Habitat for Humanity and the IFRC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Gallery: https://goo.gl/6xQTZB

And we continue leading the Caribbean Shleter Actors helping the region to recover from hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.  The main project in Dominica, in collaboration with the Luthern World Relief humanitarian organisation, is using Trinbagonian expertise to augment training for local carpenters in building hurricanresilient housing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about our work, or to find out how you can help, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter @habitattnt or email contactus@habitat-tt.org

More than 30 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly took an important step in promoting the idea that everyone deserves a decent place to live by declaring that the first Monday in October would be World Habitat Day. On Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago joins with our partners and affiliates around the world to rededicate ourselves to recognizing the basic right of everyone to adequate shelter.

The situation is dire, especially for the families of people with disabilities, the LGBTQ communities and people living with HIV & AIDS. This is why we, at Habitat Trinidad-Tobago, have launched a nationwide survey and petition to change the policies and legislation that make it impossible for the most vulnerable residents to find decent and affordable housing. Throughout October – Habitat Month – we will bring this issue to national attention.

Habitat for Humanity is working to improve access to affordable housing and land tenure for persons with disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago.  We ask the Minister of Housing to allow disabled landowners to apply for special assistance for housing, and provide emergency housing for those evicted because of their gender or HIV status. Please share/promote this PETITION LINK: https://chn.ge/2wJIuY7

 

We are also trying to find out about the experiences of members of vulnerable groups in accessing housing.  Please share and promote this SURVEY LINK:  https://goo.gl/forms/5A77aq1c1PXn3CH62
Our Advocacy Build is constructing a home for Andy, a Deaf resident of Princes Town; everyone is invited to join us on Saturday 13 October from 9am, when a gathering of prominent and influential leaders from government and the diplomatic corps, business and academia, the arts and civil society to help andy move into a safe, stable and familiar environment where he can live independently.

(Habitat Trinidad-Tobago is working in collaboration with the Caribbean Policy Development (NGO) Centre to improve access to Housing and Land Tenure for Vulnerable Groups – the Disabled, People living with HIV/AIDS and the Gender Communities.)

 

We ask our supporters to come together as one country to declare that:

• Every one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future.
• A decent place to live can remove barriers to opportunity, health and success that might have been part of a family’s life for years, and in many cases for generations.

 

Seventy-five percent of people in the world lack proper documentation for the land on which they live. Further, in Trinidad and Tobago, one in 4 families struggle to meet their rental commitments, often sacrificing good nutrition and medication or health care in order to keep a roof over their heads. Without land, there can be no housing, and housing is the key to stability and opportunity.  In 2016, Trinidad and Tobago joined over 150 governments to agree to the New Urban Agenda as a global framework highlighting the need for urban policies to emphasize housing, focus on secure tenure and prioritize community-led development, and we must ensure governments are held accountable to their commitments.

To learn more, visit  https://www.habitat-tt.org/what-are-we-doing-now/

Advocacy Build Homeowner Andy, stands in front of a giant credit card promoting Habitat's online donation facility at habitat-tt.org/donate-nowAndy will be the Homeowner for Habitat’s Annual Advocacy Build. This year, Habitat is working in collaboration with the Caribbean Policy Development (NGO) Centre to improve access to Housing and Land Tenure for Vulnerable Groups – the Disabled, People living with HIV/AIDS and the Gender Communities. We invite you to to join leaders of business, academia and government on October 13 at a special build project at Andy’s new home in Princes Town. Andy is deaf, his co-applicant Michael helped with the interview.

Andy was eight years old and Michael was five when they met. Michael’s family opened a bookstore in Princes Town and there was a games arcade next door which Andy frequented. The boys began hanging out together and their friendship was born.

Andy was an only child to his parents; his father was a mason by trade and his mother was a housewife. His home life was challenging, and as his parents passed away he spent more and more time in town at the bookstore. The owners would try to provide meals while he hung out with the staff and tried to help by moving boxes of stock. Later, a neighbour stepped in and assisted him with getting access to the disability grant on which he lives presently.

When asked why he chose to get so intimately involved in Andy’s personal affairs, Michael said that he was approached for asssitance by one of Andy’s relatives – she wanted to get the property deed transferred from his mother’s name. Apparently there were several family members at that time trying to get Andy to sign a document that would make them the owners of the land. Michael said he found that to be wrong and he could not stand by and see that injustice done to someone he had known for almost all his life.  The aunt who helped get the deed had intended to build him a small house with her own money; however she fell ill and had to use the money for her own care.

Asked why Habitat Trinidad and Tobago should assist Andy, Michael said that he knows him personally and he knows that he is a good person, he thinks it will be a blessing for him to own his own home especially when none of his relatives thought he could. He is very happy that an organization like Habitat TnT is available to bring hope to those who need it.

Do you believe that everyone deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home?
Then sign here! https://chn.ge/2wJIuY7

Have you experienced discrimination in housing because of a disability, your gender or your HIV status?
Then click here! https://goo.gl/forms/zby4iSUHNV7WtNqy2

 

 

Logos: Habitat Trinidad-Tobago, the European Union, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre

Collage of female faces of various ages, all holding certificates from the Volunteer Orientation in August 2018

 

Thirteen new volunteers attended our first Orientation for the new year, giving up their day off to learn how to put their time, talent and treasure to work with our Homeowners.

They will be assigned to outreach programmes, corporate meetings, in-office support and local or Global Village Builds.  THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SERVICE!

 

Southern Sales & Service Co. Ltd has joined the Habitat family! National Director Jennifer Massiah welcomed Brian Mohammed from the Lease & Rental Division to our San Juan Office, where he presented a cheque for TT$50,000 to contribute to positive change within our national community. Corporate support of this nature is critical to the sustainability of the Habitat programme.
 
Southern Sales understands that safe and affordable housing is the best way to break the vicious cycle of poverty in our country. An investment in Habitat is not a Band-Aid solution to poverty; it is a gateway to change that lasts for generations. Families that used to depend on social services are now savers and taxpayers and educated consumers, contributing to the economic base of their communities.
 
#habitatforhumanity #impact #sustainability #socialbusiness
Southern Sales & Service Co. Ltd has joined the Habitat family! National Director Jennifer Massiah welcomed Brian Mohammed from the Lease & Rental Division to our San Juan Office, where he presented a cheque for TT$50,000 to contribute to positive change within our national community.  Southern Sales understands that safe and affordable housing is the best way to break the vicious cycle of poverty in our country. An investment in Habitat is not a Band-Aid solution to poverty; it is a gateway to change that lasts for generations. Families that used to depend on social services are now savers and taxpayers and educated consumers, contributing to the economic base of their communities.  #habitatforhumanity #impact #sustainability #socialbusiness

Southern Sales & Service Co. Ltd has joined the Habitat family! National Director Jennifer Massiah welcomed Brian Mohammed from the Lease & Rental Division to our San Juan Office, where he presented a cheque for TT$50,000 to contribute to positive change within our national community.

Everyone deserves a decent place to Live! Housing Access & Land Tenure Survey for Vulnerable Groups - Disabled, persons living with HIV/AIDS, LGBTQIA communities. Email habitattt@habitat-tt.org or contactus@habitat-tt.org. Survey available at https://goo.gl/forms/u8QkdeAnUlC6JcM93

Habitat’s Housing and Land Access Advocacy continues with focus group meetings for the disabled, those living with HIV AIDS and the LGBTQIA communities in Trinidad and Tobago.  We are working with NGOs in your community to fight discrimination in accessing public and private housing, in rental, mortgage or informal arrangments.

If you have experienced discrimination, please share your story with us!

Confidential Survey   https://goo.gl/forms/u8QkdeAnUlC6JcM93

Call or WhatsApp to book a focus group meeting with your community   +18687024663

Email contactus@habitat-tt.org to find out how you can do more!

 

 

“We must all learn not only to not fear change, but to embrace it enthusiastically and, perhaps even more important, encourage and drive it”  Tony Hsieh

 

“The list of potential families requiring our services are increasing beyond our ability to address. The donor pool is rapidly declining and charity budgets are being sliced in painful measures. We also note that the volunteer offers are now increasing beyond our ability to engage. The question then is in the light of such a climate, should we shelve our services temporarily? Though tempting this though is our response refuses to be one of a defeatist mentality. Hence, our plans are even more ambitious than before. Rooted in a belief system that says always faith guides our actions and God blesses our endeavor;, we stay resolutely focused on the increasing needs in our society. We wish to remain a beacon of hope to the hopeless and a ray of light in a dimming environment. We continue to make the clarion call to all of our supporters to stick with us for we need you more than ever. To our donors, if you do not support us, can you imagine the many families who would disintegrate into the depths of greater despair?”  Jennifer Massiah, National Director.

Habitat Trinidad-Tobago National Director Report FY18

 

“We were also fortunate this year to gain the support of Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, as Patron of Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago.  We are deeply grateful for Her Excellency’s gracious consideration and know that her patronage and support will elevate the cause of Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago in the national landscape and help with our engagement of civil society and individuals alike.”  Derwin Howell, Chairman

Habitat Trinidad-Tobago Chairman Report FY18

 

Blue, green and red flyer promoting a survey on Housing Access and Land Tenure for PwDs, Persons living with HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQI+ communities

Housing Access and Land Tenure Survey for Vulnerable Groups

Housing Access and Land Tenure Survey for Vulnerable Groups: PLEASE SHARE WIDELY

https://goo.gl/forms/VRjbdv5tbsfdzz7W2

Habitat Trinidad and Tobago is working to foster positive social change in the lives of persons living with HIV and AIDS, persons with disabilities and persons who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and/or Intersex (LGBTI).

* What are we doing? *

This survey is being conducted to capture a detailed picture of housing and shelter needs among disabled people, people living with HIV/AIDS and gender communities in Trinidad & Tobago. We will be using the findings to influence and develop local policies and services to eliminate obstacles to housing and land tenure access, and to increase the participation in the planning, implementation and monitoring of public policy around access to land and housing by organisations representing these groups. The results of the survey will be shared with Civil Society Organisations and public sector providers.

* What we are trying to measure in this survey? *

We want to identify some of the challenges that these vulnerable groups face in finding safe, decent and affordable places to live. In particular, we would like to identify barriers in accessing services, and any gaps in current service provision. This survey is completely anonymous, but we will be using the summarised information we collect to press for improvements in housing access. The survey contains questions about who you are, the housing you live in now and how you feel about access to housing in your area. We are asking lots of questions to get a detailed picture that looks at lots of different aspects of life for vulnerable groups in our country.

From the last week in March, we are sending teams to work in Dominica every six weeks. To ease the strain on the local resources, we want them to be as self-sufficient as possible, and we need YOUR help!

 

We need canned food, travel packs of laundry detergent and hygiene kits for the men and women who will be working on hurricane recovery in Dominica. Here’s a list of items for their volunteer kits:

Canned meats and fish and can openers
Crix
Individual First Aid Kits
Ladies Feminine Care Packs
Toiletries – Toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent
Torchlights and batteries
We’ll collect at various points around the country – please contactus@habitat-tt.org to arrange!

PS: If you want to volunteer, please contactus@habitat-tt.org !

All this month, we at Habitat Trinidad and Tobago will be looking back at our work over the last 21 years.  We are proud and grateful that we can are helping homeowners and their families all over the country to renovate, repair or build decent shelters within their means.  From Habitat Street in Guaico to Canada Lane in Tobago, we are honoured to have had a small part to play in their lives!

We’d like to do more, and we can with your help!  Please, tell us how you feel about our work and our impact in Trinidad and Tobago; share your ideas on how we can do more to support strong, stable and self-reliant families!

 

 

www.facebook.com/habitattnt

Word Cloud with multi-coloured words related to shelter

The Admirals at the Helm

 

Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things,” and this is most evident in those who selflessly answer the call to serve with no personal gain as an incentive. This is especially true in the case of the individuals that have served Habitat for Humanity® Trinidad & Tobago as Chairman of the National Board of Directors.

 

From the conception stage and through its embryonic period Clive Pantin assumed the role of Chairman of the National Committee from 1995 to 1997. During this period he skillfully and lovingly cleared the path by inviting the Area Director for the Latin American & Caribbean of Habitat for Humanity, Steve Mickler, to Trinidad to assess our worthiness and start the process of establishing an affiliate organization.

 

Habitat for Humanity® Trinidad & Tobago was registered in 1997 and there was a handover of the National Committee to a formal Board of Directors. This warranted a Chairman to be elected and Pantin handed the reins to Francis O’Neal (at left, in this photo with classmates from Fatima College Class of 1975), whose expertise lay in the fields of Information Technology and Civil Engineering.  His focus was largely centred on the building of the Habitat for Humanity® brand and sowing the seeds of faith, mission and mandate. He had the challenging task of staffing the organization and institutionalizing the many policies and structure requirements.

 

 

After Habitat had been properly formalized the baton of the chairmanship was passed on to the very capable hands of Mitra Attai whose forté lay in the field of Finance and Accounting. During his tenure, the local organization solidified its position as an NGO by the strengthening of the institution through greater staff and volunteer development; affiliate development and fundraising at the affiliate level. Given his background, he actively sought financial transparency and soon enlisted the services of the accounting firm of KPMG as Habitat’s external auditors and implemented the international Sun Accounting System Software to facilitate our internal accounts. He also intently pursued the then President of the Republic, His Excellency, Arthur N. Robinson, to act as patron of Habitat for Humanity® Trinidad & Tobago. Attai also led the expansion of the building of houses and the formation of national partners. At an international level, he presided over the country’s first Youth Build, held here in Trinidad in 2000 and attended by representatives from 13 countries, including the Latin American and Caribbean region and a contingent from the USA.

 

Mr Attai gave way to Chanka Seeterram in late 2000, another finance specialist and the longest-serving Board member in Habitat Trinidad- Tobago’s short existence. Seeteram’s tenure was largely characterized by the drive to become self-sustaining and widen the involvement of our volunteer base to engage as much of the corporate citizens of our island as its private citizens. He typified the diligence of the organization by steadfastly promoting its mission at every opportunity and headed the World Leaders Build in 2001 in Trinidad, attended by several key figures in the political landscape of the country, as well as the management of our multinational and local businesses. He instilled an aggressive determination to improve our efficiency in our core competency of construction and expand the scope of our services to assist more individuals.

 

Current Chairman Derwin Howell is a respected Caribbean financier and brings to Habitat Trinidad-Tobago a passion for good governance and donor engagement.  Under his leadership, We have been able to expand and deepen our relationshi^s with major donors, while increasing public interest and financial contributions from individuals and small & medium enterprises.

Wherever we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we know that “True Trinis” will be thinking of their loved ones and the neighbourhoods where we grew up back home. As you gather with your family and friends in “foreign” to celebrate Thanksgiving, we are asking you, as a family, to help other families build safe and affordable homes in T and T.If you are proud to be a Trini and wish to support our efforts, please make a contribution to our mission. We encourage you to visit our website at www.habitat-tt.org/donate-now to learn more about Habitat and make your secured online contributions. You also have the opportunity to follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/HabitatTNTor on twitter @habitatTNT.
In true Trini style, please let us spread the word and tell all your family and friends about Habitat Trinidad and Tobago. We look forward to having you join us in T&T to help build a house for a family in need.

This time of year, there is comfort in knowing that you’ll have a safe and healthy home to celebrate the holidays. Your gift today can begin to make that possible for your friends, and neighbours back home.

Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to live. Help us!