By Sarah Schafer
Three families in Jacmel, Haiti, soon will have new homes, thanks to the “Building Homes and Hope in Haiti” project, a partnership of LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH).
In April, two volunteers from Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church, North Royalton, Ohio, two from St. Mark Lutheran Church in Chesterland, Ohio, and one from Redeemer Lutheran Church, Springfield, Mo., helped start work on those homes – the first of hundreds planned for construction over the next two to three years in earthquake-rocked Jacmel, Port-au-Prince, and Leogane.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have no shelter but flimsy bed sheets over their heads,” said Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, WR-HC’s director of disaster response. “But thanks to the generosity of LCMS members, we are helping many Haitians move closer to getting off the streets and back into homes. I thank God for those who have given and pray others will continue to give generously so that together we can show the mercy and compassion of our Savior.”
Architectural plans were drafted for a two-room, 480-square-foot home; a one-bedroom, 600-square-foot home with kitchen and bath; and a two-bedroom, 800-square-foot home with kitchen and bath. Each home costs an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 to construct.
The ELCH established a management team that will oversee families’ applications for the homes and low-interest, income-based financing. The team also will develop a maintenance schedule, emergency and safety procedures, and community living standards.
In a related project, WR-HC is working with Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Houston and Orphan Grain Train to send 100 temporary prefabricated homes to Haiti. LCMS volunteers will assemble the units in late May.
As the Synod’s mercy arm, WR-HC is doing more than support the housing efforts of its Haitian partners, Merritt noted. “We’re building infrastructure for self-sufficiency and long-term recovery in Haiti,” he said.
When this issue went to press, WR-HC commitments to Haiti relief efforts totaled $2.5 million, with additional grants pending.
As part of the $2.5 million, WR-HC awarded a $300,000 grant for a joint project of the ELCH and Lutheran Church of Haiti (LCH) to begin removing the rubble of collapsed churches, schools, and homes for rebuilding to begin. In the cleanup and rebuilding efforts, WR-HC helped the Lutheran churches in Haiti purchase a dump truck and a truck and trailer.
ELCH President Rev. Marky Kessa said that the effort will not only provide jobs for locals, but also “will bring hope and encouragement to the people who are anxious to make a fresh start.”
“The LCMS is giving Haitians the opportunity for homeownership and the opportunity to live more stable lives than they have lived in the past,” said Merritt, who added that the work is within a close proximity to the Word and Sacrament ministries of the ELCH and LCH.
For news, photos, videos, and more of LCMS recovery efforts in Haiti, visit www.lcms.org/worldrelief. To make a gift, visit http://givenowlcms.org, call 888-930-4438, or mail gifts earmarked for “Haiti earthquake relief” to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
Sarah Schafer is communications project manager for LCMS World Relief and Human Care.
Posted April 29, 2010