Tsunami Shelter Fund to Support 'Home Builders Care Villages' and Construction Training
In the spirit of Home Builders Care, NAHB and the National Housing Endowment have united to provide long-term shelter reconstruction support to those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in South Asia on Dec. 26, 2004.
Formed just after the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, the Home Builders Care/National Housing Endowment-Tsunami Shelter Fund will fund permanent home reconstruction along with education and training that will enable communities to sustain and participate in the ongoing rebuilding effort, which is estimated to take decades.
Nearly four months have passed since the Indian Ocean quake set off one of the deadliest tsunamis in history, killing an estimated 280,000 people in 11 countries. The March 28 earthquake reported off the cost of Indonesia may bring world attention once again to the region, however stories of tsunami tragedies, survival and rebuilding challenges for the 1.2 million people left homeless are largely absent from today’s news. For that reason, it is even more important for our industry to step up to support the ongoing reconstruction of homes and villages and to help restore a sense of community to the victims by addressing long-term housing needs.
While many individuals, companies and home builder associations already have given to relief organizations that provided immediate medical and emergency needs, the Tsunami Shelter Fund picks up where that vital assistance leaves off.
Beginning shortly after the International Builders’ Show, a team led by past president Bob Mitchell, conducted a series of interviews and conference calls with a number of established relief agencies to determine who could best help NAHB and the Endowment carry out its mission. At the Spring Board of Directors meeting, both the Senior Officers and the National Housing Endowment Board accepted the search team’s recommendation to partner with two organizations—Habitat for Humanity International and Shelter For Life International.
Habitat for Humanity International already is working in four of the affected nations in South Asia and has set a goal of housing up to 35,000 families in its first phase effort, with nearly $39 million already raised toward this goal.
NAHB will direct a portion of the funds raised by the Tsunami Shelter Fund to support the construction of a Disaster Response Technical Center in one of the affected countries. These centers provide technical expertise and assistance to families, Habitat affiliates and partners during the first stages of construction and are a resource to produce building materials, which are becoming scarce. For example, a similar center operating in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka produces 3,600 concrete blocks every day and was established five years ago to help keep building costs down, as well as provide trade skills to the native population.
NAHB and the National Housing Endowment also will partner with Shelter For Life International (SFL) to build a “Home Builders Care Village” of starter homes in Sri Lanka. SFL is a 25-year-old international relief and development organization that assists people affected by conflict or disaster to rebuild and improve their lives and communities.
For the last six years, SFL has been working in Sri Lanka, helping rebuild after a 20-year civil conflict displaced 10 percent of the population. In addition to rebuilding homes, SFL provides training workshops to help the local population learn to make blocks and other materials that can sustain the rebuilding effort.
SFL uses local building materials and works with the beneficiaries of the homes, ensuring that they respect local traditions with the home designs. Beneficiaries provide their own unskilled labor if they are able, though no cash contribution is required to receive one of the homes. SFL is working with the government of Sri Lanka as they finalize plans for ensuring proper land use and selecting beneficiaries for homes built by SFL and other relief agencies.
NAHB seeded the Tsunami Shelter Fund with an initial $250,000 contribution and an additional $56,000 has been raised thus far. NAHB is encouraging members to participate by making a tax-deductible donation to the fund to support this important rebuilding endeavor. Please direct your donation check to:
National Housing Endowment
1201 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Checks should be made payable to the National Housing Endowment, and in the memo section, please note "Tsunami Shelter Fund."
For more information, please e-mail Troy Patterson at the National Housing Endowment, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8483, or e-mail Kym Kilbourne in NAHB Public Affairs, or call her at x8447.
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