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.

MEDIA RELEASE
NGC President and Habitat Dedicate a New Home
Monday 14th November 2016

“Habitat for Humanity has a vision of a world where everyone has access to safe, decent and affordable shelter. This is a natural fit for NGC as we seek to contribute to national development through our extensive Corporate Social Responsibility programme which includes a focus on socio-economic development and human development.” This according to NGC President, Mr. Mark Loquan as he spoke at the Dedication and Key Ceremony of a newly-constructed house for Ms. Vashti Singh-Debideen and her two children, on November 11th 2016. Also present at the event were Habitat Trinidad-Tobago’s Local Capital Campaign Chair, Mr. Ronald Harford, National Director Ms. Jennifer Massiah and other representatives of NGC and HFHTT.

 

The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) in partnership with Habitat for Humanity® Trinidad and Tobago (Habitat Trinidad-Tobago) presented the keys to a newly-constructed two-bedroom house to the small family. This is the first build under a new three-year agreement between NGC and Habitat Trinidad-Tobago. For the three-year period beginning in 2016, NGC has pledged TTD$3 million dollars to help Habitat Homeowners build safe and affordable shelters throughout the country.

 

In this first year, 2016, three families worked actively with NGC and Habitat volunteers to construct their new homes themselves. All three homes under this year’s contribution were completed and ready to house their new families. NGC’s deep desire to maximize the impact of their contribution also led them to support ten other Habitat families with construction materials to begin or complete their house construction, or to rehabilitate their home. There is a long-standing partnership between NGC and Habitat as 2005-2015 saw the companies funding 16 Homeowners as they built stable and affordable shelters for their families, contributing TTD$1.25 million dollars for this purpose.

 

Mr. Loquan also assured those present that “… while we are experiencing difficult times within the energy sector, we will continue to support Habitat in its programme of building houses for those in the community unable to afford a home.”

 

Vashti Singh-Debideen, recipient of the house, noted: “Support from corporate entities such as NGC makes the idea of owning a home a reality for small income earners like me.”

 

Vashti and her family worked with NGC staff members to paint the newly-constructed home under NGC’s Reputation and Relationship Ambassadors Volunteerism Programme. The Company also provided tiling and a ceiling for the house. Vashti will repay a small, affordable mortgage for the home.

 

NGC’s Volunteerism Programme seeks to promote employee involvement in the Company’s CSR initiatives. These initiatives include delivering presentations to visiting students, providing safety training to our fenceline community members, cleaning beaches and assisting in various ways at public events such as the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the NGC/Sagicor/NAAA Championship Games, and NGC SanFest..

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