Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) was proud to recently support the work of Habitat for Humanity Argentina through our tithe and by sending a group to help build in a home in La Mantanza, Argentina during the last week of April.
Our group of 16 was made up of board members, staff, major donors and longtime volunteers. In five days, we plastered the inside/outside of the house to finish, poured the sub floor inside and dug a 9 foot hole for the septic system. The family who we built with was so sweet – Leo and Yamila are the dad and mom and they have two sons Aaron (3 years) and Bautista (1 year). Their home was being built on a plot of land owned by Leo’s father, Mario, who built a home and is building a home for each of his sons on the same land. His other sons, Adrian and Hernan, also helped us during the week as skilled masons and Leo did as well (although he had to work during the week – he is a skilled worker for roofing).
We helped build what is known as a seed house or progressive house. The minimum and most important part of the house with respect to basic needs (kitchen, bathroom installations, facilities and bedroom) are built in partnership with the family so that they have a solution to their housing quickly. Through this Habitat helps to teach them the skills and progressively gives them loans to allow them to be able to add to the house in the future, adding “improvements” such as an additional bedroom, etc.
The home is located in the suburb area of La Mantanza just about an hour outside of the main city area of Buenos Aires. One of the most interesting things we heard is that in order to rent in Buenos Aires you must put up as collateral another property that you own or a member of your family owns. There are many challenges including economic instability and social crises that have made the housing issues even worse. Thousands live in precarious housing situations with no guarantees of sufficient income to pay for rent or an installment on a mortgage loan.
If you are interested in building with Habitat for Humanity around the world please visit: www.habitat.org.