News

ATLANTA (March 16, 2020) — Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford issued the following statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic:

In recent days and weeks, a wave of closures, cancellations and postponements has unfurled as the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged. Those decisions — taken individually, totalled in the aggregate — have been stunning acts of solidarity, expressions of concern and collective responsibility for the health and well-being of our communities and our neighbours.

That sense of connectedness and a willingness to actively help shape the world around us for the better have always been a hallmark of Habitat and supporters like you. They are deep in our DNA. They are what have sustained our work with families for more than 40 years, they are what will ensure we weather this unprecedented challenge, and they are what will be needed — more than ever — when we all emerge from this current crisis.

We have always believed that we will only find our way forward together. It’s true every day — and will be even truer now. The need we work so hard every day to meet will only grow.

When any disaster hits — a storm, a disease, a financial crisis — it is always those who struggle most who suddenly find themselves struggling even more. They are our neighbours. Families already living in conditions that aren’t conducive to good health, those whose finances have long been taxed beyond measure because housing eats up too large a portion of their income, those newly vulnerable because of the economic shock waves that something like this so often sets off.

As this disease has spread, we have implemented many changes ourselves, and we continue to monitor and wrestle with the uncharted territory we all find ourselves in now. Our utmost priority at all times is protecting the people and communities we serve, and that has meant pausing some activities. When the time is right, Habitat for Humanity stands ready to once again accelerate our efforts with renewed energy and commitment. We are so desperately needed. Because this should be a world where everyone has a decent place to live. It should be a world where we care for each other, where we recognize that we are all connected, and where we come together in times of crisis — and stay together when the urgency has lifted but the need remains.

As much as we wish there might be a playbook for the situation we all find ourselves in, it has not been written yet. What has been written is the command to love our neighbours and to act with kindness wherever we can. We thank you for the close and loving global community that you continue to help us build, and we appreciate your unwavering support.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org 

 
 

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Since 1997, Habitat Trinidad and Tobago has contributed significantly to the National Strategic Development Plans, and by extension, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Housing and Infrastructure through:

  • Number of Shelter Solutions – new houses, repairs, renovations, sanitation blocks, completions, and materials supplied – 877
  • Number of persons benefiting from training and shelter solutions – 4074
  • Number of people impacted – 24755

The programmes we offer to individuals, communities and corporate citizens include Basic Home Maintenance and Building Hurricane Resilient Homes, Disaster Mitigation, Emergency Preparation and Disaster Recovery, Financial Management,  and Construction Skills Upgrades.

We also have a special focus on Disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the Gender Communities. We advocate on their behalf to dismantle the systemic barriers to housing & land tenure and change the legislation and policies preventing disabled and vulnerable communities from accessing affordable shelter.

We value our close collaboration with leading NGOs and Civil Society on Human Rights and Land Tenure, and we have been recognized as the Lead Humanitarian Actor on Shelter in Disasters in the CARICOM region.  Regionally, we wrote the Trinidad and Tobago National Report on Housing for UN Habitat’s Meeting in Ecuador in 2016 and are supporting the Dominica Government in Building Back Better after the 2017 Hurricane Season, with Training, Capacity -building in the Construction SEctor and other interventions. Our current focus is on collaborating with the International Office of Migration and Lutheran World Relief on Response and Recovery programmes developed for the October 2018 floods and in preparation for the current hurricane season.

A few examples of housing’s catalytic impacts:
1. Housing is a driver, catalyst and contributor for 13 of the 17 SDGs.
2. Housing is a platform for household resilience and sustainability, driving Human Development Index and Multi-Poverty Index outcomes in health, education and standard of living, including indicators in nutrition; child mortality; school enrollment; energy; water; sanitation and durable, healthy construction.
3. Housing as a process can create a sense of place and dignity, building community cohesion as well as one’s social and financial network and assets.
4. Adequate and affordable housing:
• Is a multiplier of community jobs and income.
• Improves household income and financial stability, often providing home-based industry opportunities.
5. Housing is a prerequisite for inclusive, equitable, safe, resilient and sustainable cities.

The five key housing SDGs
Goal 1 – No Poverty
• Adequate housing builds resilience and reduces vulnerability to economic, social and climate-related shocks and disasters.
• Equal access to the economic resources of housing and the ownership and control over land and the income it generates promotes sustainability.
Goal 5 – Gender Equality
• Equal access to housing protects women from discriminatory policies and practices related to land distribution, titling and inheritance.
Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation
• Access to clean water and sanitation are integral to safe, healthy, adequate housing.
Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy
• Housing systems that are energy-efficient and that use affordable, clean energy save costs and reduce air pollution and the effects of climate change.
Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
• Access to affordable, adequate, safe and inclusive housing and basic services increases resilience.
• Integrated housing frameworks support economic, social and environmental policy planning and infrastructure linkages across the urban-rural ecosystem.

The new Fiscal Year 2020 (July 2019 – June 2020) finds us investing and building greater capacities in our team, and finding new and innovative ways to raise awareness, make friends and grow funds. Since 1997, we have served 877 families with shelter solutions – new houses, repairs, renovations, completions – and trained 4,951 people. We have supported almost 25,000 people in their quest for safe, decent, adequate and affordable shelter!  With your unwavering support in the years to come, we can serve many more persons in need of safe, decent and affordable access to shelter.

Architects of Change Banner

To this end, we are happy to introduce you to the work of our Architects of Change.   Five caring citizens have answered the call to take small, yet significant actions in their lives, and become an Architect of Change for our country. Because they believe that everyone deserves a decent place to call home, these long-standing supporters of Habitat’s work are prepared to put themselves forward to encourage their peers and the national community to work with us. We all have the power to be Architects of Change in our own lives, in our own homes and our own communities. This is the opportunity to challenge what is, imagine what can be, then create the future we want for our country. Together, we CAN make a difference, play a part in moving our nation forward and ultimately, build safe, stable and self-reliant, caring, conscious, connected and compassionate communities.

 

 

 

PROJECTS

Proman's CEO David Cassidy helping Cherrylyn to build her home

Proman’s CEO David Cassidy helping Cherrylyn to build her home

The Proman Group has completed the first year of a multi-year collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Two demonstration houses and two repair projects were completed, and the four families joined Proman’s team on the Painting and Dedication Day in Valencia. Proman also supports our Disaster Resilience Programme by funding free public discussions on Family Emergency Preparation and Healthy Housing Habits.  We can do targeted presentations for schools, communities and vulnerable groups (persons with disabilities, gender communities), so if you would like to learn more, please contactus@habitat-tt.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Trinidad Systems Limited (TSL) – Foundation

This project began as a simple micr0-build, with the TSL Foundation offering to support Chantal in Valencia. TSL is celebrating 40 years of service in Trinidad and welcomed this collaboration with Habitat in serving a family. This team was so excited to help and convinced their clients to take an interest in the family.  The result? Chantal and her three young children will soon move into a NEW house! To date, more than 50 TSL volunteers have come out to support the cause!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Coosals

In November 2019, Habitat hosted the groundbreaking ceremony to herald the start of construction for Angela in collaboration with Coosals Group of Companies. Angela is legally blind and her son Aaron has cerebral palsy. Angela’s story was featured on the front page in the Trinidad Express on November 9th, 2019. Sieunarine Coosal joined the Habitat Advisory Board in 2006 and later transitioned to the Capital Campaign Cabinet. He was inducted into the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame in 2019, and he is one of the four influential corporate leaders seen in the Habitat Endorsement Videos aired daily on CCN TV6 to highlight our work in the national community. We have benefited tremendously from millions of TT Dollars in blocks, gravel, fill and other construction inputs from this Spirit of Humanity Award winner over the years, and the Group will continue their journey with us in FY20, supporting Habitat Homeowners through in-kind donations of building materials for new houses and micro builds.

 

 

  • Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited (PLNL)

Habitat partnered with PLNL to gift 25 families within their fence line with Christmas Hampers. Four of the families represented lost fisher folk in ambushes earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corporate Support – Capital Campaign Cabinet

At the end of 2019 Mr. Ronald Harford, Chairman of the Capital Campaign Cabinet retired his position at Republic Bank and also indicated that he will be stepping down from all other duties and responsibilities.  A “Thank You” reception is planned for February 13th 2020 to say our farewells to Mr. Harford, and to chart the way forward for the Campaign and the Cabinet members. 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Police Youth Group project

The “Recycle for a Life Cycle” was hosted on Saturday 19th October 2019 at the Police Administration compound at Riverside Plaza. Young people (and the young at heart!) attended from across the Police Youth Groups network. It was a successful day and the participants proudly displayed their finished products.

 

 

 

 

  • Starbucks

We celebrated World Habitat Day 2019 with a collaboration with Starbucks in Trinidad and Tobago. This coffee morning was instrumental in raising awareness of our work.

 

 

  • Rotary Club of Port of Spain West

This group joined forces with the Rotoract and painted Hannah’s house in Sangre Grande.  It’s an annual event for the Rotary Club in Trinidad and Tobago, with various groups coming together to support our homeowners in their quest to acquire safe, decent and affordable housing.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Annual General Meeting

Held at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, this year’s gathering welcomed the new Habitat for Humanity Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, Ernesto Garcia, to Trinidad and Tobago for his first visit.  In his feature address, he emphasized the importance of Housing as a process that creates a sense of place and dignity, building community cohesion as well as one’s social and financial network and assets. These changes benefit the larger community, reducing inequality and building resilience against economic and natural disasters. Read more …

 

 

 

  • Shelter Report

For the last  22 years, we have empowered many citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to achieve a better quality of life through safe and affordable housing.  Since 1997, we have served 877 families with shelter solutions – new houses, repairs, renovations, completions – and trained 4,951 people. We have supported almost 25,000 people in their quest for safe, decent, adequate and affordable shelter! During the past year, we’ve been able to provide 130 shelter solutions, raised TT$5.9m in funding and facilitated 6,028 volunteer hours.  To see all of the highlights and accomplishments from the last year, please click here.

 

If you have any questions or comments, please share them with contactus@habitat-tt.org.

Click here to make an online donation to support our work. You can also donate through our Republic Bank account #180482534101.

 

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

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