Diocese of Norwich Deacon's Happy House
Since 1997, the HHF has been providing housing for the homeless and for poor families residing in hovels in rural southern Haiti. Housing for many in rural Haiti is deplorable. Often, large families live together in small, rickety shacks of cardboard, tin, rags, and straw with dirt floors. Vermin – including mice, rats, and insects – are impossible to control, and the straw roofs constantly leak or are blown away by even fairly mild rainstorms. Space is so sparse that people often sleep in shifts.
The Haitian Health Foundation's Happy House program replaces these shacks with concrete block buildings with a cement floor, a tin roof, windows and doors. Recipients are selected by a vote of Village Committees to ensure that only the most needy receive them. They participate in building the houses by providing labor when possible, as well as sand, rocks, and water. The Happy House construction costs approximately $1,250 per house. Families often feel that their Happy House is a mansion when compared with their previous dwelling.
The Happy House provides humane living conditions, improved sanitation and dignity. In addition:
- Communities grow through cooperation and care for the extremely poor.
- Protection from the elements and improved sanitation results in improved health.
- Poor families are empowered through their contributions to the realization of their own home.
- Trades workers and other laborers gain employment and opportunities to improve their skills.
- The local economy benefits from the sale of building materials.
In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the Diocese of Norwich Diaconate Community purchased one house each year. We are now building on that good work with a home in 2015.
Please contact Deacon Larry Goodwin with your contributions to this project.