FROM HOUSES TO HOMES-GUATEMALA
From Houses to Homes is a New Jersey-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in September 2004 to build homes and improve the lives of the rural poor in Guatemala. FHTH is currently funded through private donations, corporate giving, and contributions from private foundations. Nearly 100% of all donations go toward building homes and providing health and education to revitalize disadvantaged communities in Guatemala.
From Houses to Homes aims to strengthen community harmony in highland Guatemala by building lasting healthy homes, improving access to health care and education, and inspiring participation between the poor and civil society.
In the poorest areas of highland Guatemala, improper building materials, a lack of appropriate resources, and unsustainable architectures turn houses to foul rubble in the blink of an eye. Many families live in makeshift homes that are constructed of nothing more than cornstalk or cardboard walls with dirt floors. Decrepit housing quashes hope, fuels health problems, and destroys family unity. From Houses to Homes-Guatemala, Inc., recognizes that flourishing homes and thriving communities begin with improving actual home structure. From Houses to Homes works with the poorest of Guatemalan families to build or rebuild houses making them strong, safe, culturally appropriate, and affordable to maintain. These homes become the foundation for a community building process
Each home costs approximately $1,750.00. Our homes are 13 x 19 foot homes, made entirely of concrete block, with cement floor, corrugated metal roof, with skylight, a metal door with lock, and a metal-framed window with glass. The home is stuccoed and painted inside and out with colors chosen by the home owner. We are now including a bunkbed in every home. A plaque with your name will be placed on the home honoring your donation.
There are over one million corn stalk shacks in Guatemala. Some communities consist entirely of these provisional houses which sometime include additional scavenged resources, like corrugated metal siding, scraps of wood, or even plastic bags as siding. All houses have dirt floors, occasionally a bed, and most with leaky roofs.
We at FHTH try to visit every family three or more times over several months at unannounced times to see how the families are actually living. The only requirement to receive a home is that they are very poor and can prove ownership of the property.
We then try to select the families with the largest number of members so there will be a benefit to the largest number of people. A single mother with five or more children will head the list. During our first eight years of operation we have averaged six members per home. This means that FHTH has provided a safe home to approximately 3,594 people.
While home building is our main focus, we recognize that houses just remain structures and communities remain collections of impoverished families without proper health and education. In addition to homes, we believe that providing poor families with better access to healthcare and education most effectively helps address community deterioration in highland Guatemala. From Houses to Homes a new San Jose Medical Clinic in Pastores, Guatemala and we provide free health and dental care to all the families we have built homes for as well as all the children and their families in our new school, Escuela Kemna'oj, in Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala. Escuela Kemna'oj has 2 preschool grades and grades one, two, three and four and we educate 120 children in this indigenous community. We will add a grade every year until we reach grade 6. While we can't combat this problem in its entirety, we are trying to assist the neediest families in the highlands.
To provide the foundation for a hopeful future, communities must become more than a collection of families. Both individuals and families must be inspired to participate for the greater good of a neighborhood. From Houses to Homes, works with families and civil society to demonstrate the value that a clean and well functioning community has on the quality of life. We strive to bring people of all ages and backgrounds into the fold of a tightly knit community.