as a habitat employee, we have been kept apprised of the situation almost daily. habitat for humanity international is working hard to create both short-and long-term solutions for its 2,000 haiti homeowners and thousands of others in need of simple, decent shelter. the saddest thing i've heard lately is that although most haitians are in desperate need of shelter, many are more willing to brave the elements, as they are terrified to be inside following the horrific quakes.
thankfully, however, habitat has reestablished its affiliate office in haiti and is working hard to carry out its mission during the relief efforts. habitat has jumped on the bandwagon for text donations. you can text "habitat" to 25383 and $10 will be applied to your next phone bill. it's simple, easy, and since i generally pay about that much in extra text charges anyway (oops), i figured i could handle it.
i personally like to know specifically how my dollars are helping, and habitat has done a great job of specifying how they will move forward with a three-fold response effort, which habitat employees have identified as the best approach for the present and the future:
1. clean-up - habitat plans to immediately mobilize efforts to clear away destruction to provide space for new shelters. this will also give haitians a small wage and a specific way to contribute to rehabilitation in overwhelming ruin.
2. shelter kits - habitat will provide specific tools and materials needed for haitians to make simple, sturdy shelters in large quantities.
3. transitional shelters - habitat hopes to begin building transitional shelters soon, which meet all sphere humanitarian standards and will be built with future hurricanes and earthquakes in mind. these shelters include a strong foundation which can be expanded upon as the country continues to rebuild.
i know that's probably a lot of information to take in, but i wanted to share as i really like habitat's clear and concentrated approach to rehabilitation and rebuilding. i think that if i were to experience a similar disaster, i would find relief and hope in having a safe place in which to stay. a home is important to me, and a privilege which i often take for granted. i continue to find my work at habitat so inspiring for that reason, and while i know there are millions of very legitimate medical, food, and emotional needs in haiti right now, i feel a little better knowing that many haitians will soon have the comfort of a place to stay.
image via habitat.org