Ana's daughters at house warming celebration.
During 2013 Casita Linda will build 16 homes for families who need a safe, warm, dry place to live. This represents double the number of homes we built in 2011.
We have reduced the time for construction of a casita to 5 weeks or less for completion. This is possible for several reasons. In 2012 we hired a second crew of workers to expand the impact we have on our community by building more homes for people living in extreme poverty. Now we have two houses being built at one time.
The crew members are full time employees and receive benefits like medical insurance. Unlike most construction workers who have temporary jobs, our employees know they will have work as long as they perform well. We are seeing a very high level of motivation and commitment from our crews. They know their hard work will lead to other families having a better life in a new casita.
A number of our crew members were recipients of a Casita Linda houses themselves. When they worked on their own house we were impressed by their skills and hard work and we decided to offer them a job. We are very pleased to provide jobs for nine families with our two crews, as well as build houses for those who need adequate shelter.
We are screening and qualifying families at a much faster rate because of our full time Mexican social worker who is focused on family selection. She also works with other nonprofit organizations in San Miguel to help our families access services they need. Having a regular process we follow for gathering information about the families, such as documents about their ownership of their land, proof their children are attending school, employer verification of income and a home visit to interview the parents, has improved our ability to select families who qualify in a shorter period of time.
Early this year we completed a house for Ana, a single mother with 5 children. Her situation was very difficult with a series of temporary living arrangements and no hope of being able to buy land for a casita. She supported her family by carrying trash for people to the garbage trucks on the days the trucks came to her neighborhood. She made a little money from tips from the people in the neighborhood and she sometimes found things in the trash which she sold, but she could not provide a real home for her children.
A group of women in the neighborhood found out about Ana and were very concerned her children were not going to school because they worked to help Ana collect trash. Plus they wanted Ana and her children to have a stable living situation. Calling themselves Ana’s Angels, they raised enough money to buy a small piece of land for a casita.
They approached Casita Linda and asked if Ana would qualify for a home. After careful screening it was clear Ana’s was the type of situation we want to improve. When Ana’s casita was completed it was a very happy day for all of us. Casita Linda, Ana’s Angels and Ana and her oldest child who is a sixteen year old boy, all worked to together to make the dream of a home a reality.
Front of Ana's new casita.