CHF-Haiti Blog Update: CHF Builds Pilot Transitional Shelter

building transitional shelter

PHOTO: Workers building the shelter framework.

Yesterday, CHF International put together a pilot transitional shelter in a rural community just outside CHF’s Central Office. Transitional shelters are temporary homes built to international standards and designed to be resistant to earthquakes and storms, where a family can live for up to two years while permanent housing is rebuilt. CHF has in the last few years built thousands of transitional shelters in Georgia, Gaza, Peru and Indonesia.

Milton Funes, our Country Director for Honduras and a civil engineer by trade, has been in Haiti to oversee the beginning of this process. Milton has responded to earthquakes in Peru and El Salvador in the past and is experienced across many countries. The purpose of the pilot project is to begin the process of training local Haitians in how to build these structures. At the site, community members came and helped out, and volunteered when they saw the project. Through this, CHF was able to identify a skilled carpenter that we have now hired to help with this process.

Milton trains new workers

PHOTO: Milton Funes, CHF Country Director for Honduras, trainers new workers on how to set up a shelter. 

It takes approximately 4 skilled people and 3-4 community helpers to build such a shelter. CHF is using locally available materials which makes the shelters both possible and helps to stimulate the local economy. The building has a slanted roof with, where possible, a gutter, so that rain water can be recycled for drinking, and we are looking into including solar lamps to upgrade the shelters. The size of the shelter responds to international standards of 3.5 square meters per person. The shelter is anchored to the ground by the four wooden corner posts which are placed 18 inches into the soil, then a raised floor made of recycled rubble and cement is built to ensure the shelter is stable and less vulnerable to flooding. All parts of the shelter are firmly joined to ensure resistance to adverse weather and earthquakes.

CHF will partner with local mayors to identify areas where we can work with the community to build transitional housing lots for families.