HFHMM would like to thank Wells Fargo for coming out for a repair project in Germantown for National Women Build Week. The staff, crew leaders and homeowner greatly appreciated their hard work throughout the week as they tore down an existing deck that was unsafe and not up to code. Through the help of the Wells Fargo volunteers, a safe and durable porch was built that will enable the homeowner to live free of worry about the deck’s stability.
Women Build is a national program through Habitat for Humanity International. Its purpose is to empower women to learn a new skill as they work on a construction site alongside other women from the community, while not excluding men. Lowe’s is the national sponsor for the program and HFHMM appreciates the involvement of other groups from the community as we promote women empowerment.
Our affiliate participated on Habitat on the Hill last week to advance our vision of a world in which everyone has a decent place to live. Over 1.6 billion people do not have a safe and secure place to call home. To meet this need, Habitat seeks to build community, sector and societal impact through a variety of housing solutions including: new home construction, repairs and weatherization of owner-occupied homes, responding to natural disasters and assisting with recovery, facilitating housing microfinance loans and by making health related investments in clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
In fiscal year 2014, Habitat served over 1.6 million people in over 70 countries through home construction, repair and other direct interventions. An additional 1.6 million people were helped indirectly through training, financial management and advocacy efforts.
The Habitat for Humanity model lifts entire communities. The success of the Habitat ownership model depends not only on the ability of our partner families to repay their mortgages, but also on ongoing demand for affordable homeownership in their neighborhoods.
We need the support of the local, state, and federal government to continue to provide housing solutions for the lower-income workforce residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
While on the Hill, we visited the legislative offices of Representatives Van Hollen, Hoyer, Sarbanes, Edwards, and Delaney, as well as, Senator’s Cardin and Mikulski.
Please join us by contacting your local representative and encouraging them to support these legislative priorities. By doing so, you will participate in Habitat’s vision, and make a difference in someone’s life.
Our legislative priorities:
Below are interviews with two families we have helped in El Barrial, El Salvador through our Global Village trips. Each family speaks of their appreciation and the increase in security and well being of their family through decent, affordable housing.
Check out photos from our most recent trip to El Salvador. For more information on our partnership with this fantastic community, visit our website at http://habitatmm.org/global-village.
In 2013 Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland partnered with Habitat for Humanity El Salvador to build 45 new homes and rehab 45 existing homes for the El Barrial Community in Morazán, El Salvador. This is a four year project with a budget of $638,000. The earthquake-resistant houses will be made of concrete blocks and structural steel reinforcement. The roofs will be made of fiber-cement sheeting, and the floors of cement brick. Most of the homes will have two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and a latrine or toilet. Windows will be shutter type, protected by steel bars in order to provide adequate lighting and ventilation, as well as security.
This summer Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland has two scheduled global village trips to Morazán, El Salvador. The two trips will take place between July 19th and August 3rd 2014 and will each be 9 days long. I will be leading the first group of volunteers on the global trip and Sarah Reddinger will be leading the second group.
El Salvador is located in Central America bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras. It is the smallest and most densely populated of the Central American countries. Two volcanic chains run down its center, rising from fertile plateaus that otherwise characterize the countryside. The country’s climate is tropical, with a rainy season from May to October and a dry season from November to April. Daytime temperatures vary little, reaching around 86 F in November and 93 F in March and April.
Morazán is a department of El Salvador located in the northeast part of the country, and its capital is San Francisco Gotera. It has a population of more than 200,000. Agriculture products produced in Morazán include basic grains, sugar cane, orchard plants, bananas, cocoa, and coffee.
El Salvador endured a Civil War from 1980 to 1992, which took the lives of approximately 70,000 people. Morazán was one of the areas that the Civil War hit the hardest, which caused a great lack of infrastructure. Some families managed to escape and take refuge in Honduras. One group of 80 families returned to El Salvador in 1989. They resettled in the El Barrial Community, where they began to rebuild what they had lost during the war.
Today, a total of 109 families live in the El Barrial Community. The village is now mostly a collection of small, primitive, single-room shacks with dirt floors and no windows or doors. Most of the bathrooms are outhouses. The families are large, and the conditions are crowded. There is some running water, but it is not drinkable. The people must rely on purified bottled water for drinking and cooking. There is also no easy access to any major markets or hospitals.
However, the residents in El Barrial are devoted to improving their village. They have already built a school, a community center, and a clinic with a doctor that visits a couple times a month. They are also in the process of adding a computer lab to the school.
The residents of El Barrial are devoted to improving their village and so are we! Habitat’s Vision is a world in which everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Stay tuned for future posts and pictures about the upcoming trips to El Salvador and what they accomplish while in El Barrial!
Since 2008, the Montgomery County Council has been reviewing the zoning code. The current zoning code hasn’t comprehensively been rewritten since the late 1970’s. Of course, Montgomery County has changed a lot since the 70’s.
The Silver Theater in Silver Spring in 1953
The Silver Theater in 2010
Many changes may be made regarding the zoning code which could affect the opportunity for affordable housing in the county. On August 29 I attended a meeting with several other non-profit housing agencies in Montgomery County to discuss the County’s housing Gaps and Goals. Below are two of the perceived gaps in the housing policy that I feel most affect HFH-MC:
- A greater push for affordable housing near transit nodes
- A better utilization of County owned land to fill the affordable housing gap
If you would like to voice your support of preserving the existing affordable housing stock, increasing the number of affordable housing units, and have affordable housing be seriously considered when County-owned land is made available through re-zoning please contact the County Council members that sit on the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. With your help, we will hopefully be able to persuade the County Council to preserve the existing affordable housing stock and even increase the number of affordable housing units in the County.
Habitat for Humanity defines persons in need of affordable housing are those whose income is less than 60 percent of the area median income. The median family income for 2013 has been calculated to $107,500.