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In developing countries, many poor families have lived without safe shelter for generations. They build simple structures out of whatever they can afford or find — scrap lumber, discarded plastic, thin sheet metal, tarps, even cardboard — and they have no plumbing or electricity. These homes provide little protection from storms and vermin or intruders.
Dignified housing is critical to health, well-being and overall transformation. When families in developing countries such as Haiti or Nicaragua trade their dilapidated makeshift houses for safe, sturdy homes, they no longer fear storms, and their health and hygiene immediately improve. In the long term, secure housing has the potential to change the standard of living for generations to come. With this basic need met, parents can often turn their attention to educating their children and pursuing jobs that increase their income and future prospects. That’s why Cross Catholic Outreach empowers local ministry partners in developing countries to build or repair houses for families in need.
Read on to learn more about the importance of safe housing and how you can help shelter the destitute!
The Monise family in Haiti lived in a dilapidated mud-and-stick house before Cross Catholic Outreach provided a sturdy new home.
For families around the world, safe housing is difficult to afford. These families often depend on subsistence farming or day laborer jobs, which don’t provide enough income to improve their circumstances. As a result, many must take shelter in cramped, poorly constructed houses made of cheap materials that quickly fall apart.
When the rain comes, it pours in through holes in the roofs, turning the dirt floors into a muddy mess and soaking the few possessions inside. Strong winds can even collapse these flimsy structures. Living in these unsanitary conditions also leaves families vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and outside intruders or predators.
Most of these families end up in an endless cycle of survival, just trying to make it to the next day. They have little hope that their situation will improve, and they can sink even deeper into hopelessness if they live in an area at high risk of natural disasters. Such is the case in Haiti, where families must contend with periodic tropical storms and even the threat of severe earthquakes.
A Catholic sister participates in the dedication of a new house built for a needy Nicaraguan family.
Cross Catholic Outreach comes alongside priests, nuns, Catholic lay leaders and other partners in developing countries to address the need for safe housing. Empowered by our donors’ generosity, these programs are not one-size-fits-all but are tailored to meet each community’s specific needs and the partner’s capacity. That could mean building entirely new houses or repairing existing ones.
In Les Cayes, Haiti, our partner builds brand-new, earthquake-resistant cement block homes for needy families. In other places, a partner might include an indoor bathroom, a solar light or basic electrical wiring.
No matter the project, the goal is always the same: to share the love of Christ by giving needy families the dignity of safe living conditions. With help from friends like you, we can welcome these families home with the gift of safe shelter. By meeting the basic need for safe housing, you will empower families to invest more of their energy in bettering themselves and improving their family’s future.
Cross Catholic Outreach’s safe housing programs are helping lift poor families out of poverty around the world.
With help from supporters like you, Cross Catholic Outreach is able to partner with ministries that are building safe homes for poor families. By building sturdy concrete houses with durable roofs, we give benefiting families hope and a reminder of God’s love and mercy. Your financial contribution will build safe houses and share the hope of Christ with a family in need. Give now and change lives!
Taison and his family were blessed with a sturdy new house. (photo credit: Overture International)
Pwoje Espwa provides safe shelter to needy families in the Les Cayes area of southwest Haiti. It builds sturdy one- or two-bedroom concrete homes with solid zinc roofs, strong enough to withstand tropical storms and earthquakes.
After a boy named Taison was treated for severe burns from an oil fire, he was brought to Espwa’s medical clinic because his home was too unsanitary to live in during recovery. He needed skin grafts and was at high risk of infection, so he lived at the clinic while Espwa searched for another solution. Then the earthquake struck, further limiting housing options for Taison. As a result, Espwa decided to build a brand-new home for the boy and his family. This was an incredible blessing that may even have saved his life!
Zobeyda Vado and her children receive their sturdy new home.
Rainbow Network helps Nicaraguan families in need of adequate housing. It builds cement block homes that come complete with a concrete floor, a metal roof, a lockable door, basic electrical wiring and a sanitary latrine.
Raising three kids on her own was a struggle for Zobeyda Vado, but Rainbow Network came alongside her to ensure her children were able to go to school and receive daily nutritious meals. Zobeyda eventually found a better job as a cashier at the local airport, but she still could not afford a decent place to live. Thus, Rainbow Network intervened and helped her build a safe, sturdy home of a far greater quality than what she could have achieved on her own.
A safe place to live renews dignity, strengthens faith and transforms lives for the glory of God. Please help us welcome poor families home!
Giving monthly is a small way to have a big impact. Your regular support empowers our ministry to respond to urgent needs and fulfill our long-term projects across the world.
Where does Cross Catholic Outreach provide safe housing?
In the 2022 fiscal year, Cross Catholic Outreach is providing safe housing opportunities in Belize, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Vietnam and the Philippines.
What are poor housing conditions?
In developing countries, poor housing conditions come in a variety of forms. In rural regions, families often live in small huts made of mud and sticks and scrap materials such as tarps, cardboard and metal sheets. In urban areas, poor families often live in dilapidated slums or displaced-persons camps. The homes typically have no plumbing or electricity.
How does poverty affect housing?
Families living in poverty are focused on meeting their most basic needs such as food, shelter and water. Even though safe shelter is important, the primary needs, like food and water often take priority over having a safe place to live. This means poor families are either homeless, living in cramped quarters with relatives, or living in their own rudimentary shelters built from discarded materials — shelters they often cannot afford to maintain. After years of not being able to afford basic repairs, these houses become hazardous. These conditions affect health, well-being and a family’s ability to improve its own circumstances.
How does safe housing relieve poverty?
By meeting the basic need for safe housing, families no longer have to focus on daily survival. Instead, they’re able to invest in bettering themselves through education, entrepreneurship and learning new vocational skills. In other words, safe shelter is the foundation for breaking out of the cycle of poverty!
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.