Haitians Need Affordable Homes Now More Than Ever—And Here’s How You Can Really Help

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In the span of a month, the news from Haiti has been as shocking as has been sobering. First, in the early-morning hours of July 7th, there was the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. In a matter of weeks, the country was then ravaged by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that, according to Haiti’s civil protection agency, wrought some 2,189 deaths and 12,000 injuries. As if the scene couldn’t get any more grim, heavy rainfall from the recent tropical storm Grace has added to the misery, where earthquake victims have already been sleeping outdoors. These unfathomable events (compounded by the coronavirus, in which just 0.17% of Haitians have received at least one dose of a vaccine) would challenge any nation, let alone the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Yet, as hospitals care for survivors and as rescuers comb through the ruins, local and international organizations (such as Florida-based Hope For Haiti) have been accepting donations—including New Story, a nonprofit dedicated to building affordable homes for disaster victims around the world. “Imagine spending night after night in a tent with no safety and no stability,” Brett Hagler, cofounder of New Story, told AD in 2017. Some four years later, the country is in need of affordable housing now more than ever.

An aerial view of homes built by New Story.

Since launching in 2015, New Story has completed more 2,000 homes across Haiti (1,050), El Salvador (400), Bolivia (66), and Mexico (650). The homes feature two bedrooms, a communal area, a shower and latrine, and, in some areas, land on which to grow food. Solar panels generate electricity, and—for the newest houses—a water system collects and purifies rain. Amazingly, the cost per home on average comes to just about $6,500. In Haiti, each roughly 500-square-foot residence is designed according to Miami-Dade County earthquake and hurricane codes. It’s because of this fact that, thankfully, the homes built by New Story survived the most recent salvo of natural disasters.

Workers finish the roof of a home built by the donations made to New Story.



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