Haiti (MNN) — Have you ever known what it was like to be homeless? Chances are, probably not. Yet, there are many families in Haiti who, for them, this is a reality.
However, For Haiti With Love has been building homes over the years for homeless families. How? Through its Pilgrim House project.
The Pilgrim House Project
“Pilgrim House is a unique project because it has been over the years, totally funded by the Pilgrim Lutheran Church out of Indianapolis,” For Haiti’s Eva DeHart explains.
“So they have built 25 consecutive years of homes for homeless families. We build other homes too, and we definitely welcome any church or any organization or individual that would like to provide a home for a family.”
The funds for these homes come from designated donations. None of the money comes out of For Haiti’s general funds. Furthermore, the houses are built hurricane safe with rebar wire wired throughout the walls and foundation, essentially tying the house together.
Houses are usually built to size based on land size. In Haiti, the land is inherited and rarely bought. So the houses built are built on land that’s already owned by people who might be living in nothing more than a falling down shack or under a tarp. And because homes are being built on inherited land, it can be very challenging.
Choosing For Whom To Build
“The people have come to us and presented where their land is, what their family situation is, and that they would really like to be considered for our construction projects,” DeHart shares.
“Our staff then goes out and evaluates what they’re living in now, if anything, and where the land is. In some instances, we simply can’t get to it, [the land], so we can’t build. [For example], it might be a little lot in the middle of an area that’s already so tightly developed, that you just can’t get in there.”
For Haiti, in efforts to properly steward the funds, the ministry leans towards helping families who are showing some initiative to help themselves.
Take for instance, For Haiti has recently filed an application for building a house for a family where the man is a day worker. In other words, he goes out every day looking for work wherever he can find it. His wife also sells whatever she can find to trade.
A Family In Need
“They literally live from day to day, but they are doing well enough at their attempts that they have all three of their children in school. They have her sister living with them and the sister’s child is [also] in school,” DeHart says.
“There is a picture on facebook of the home that the family is living in right now…It’s nothing but pieces of scrap metal that they have found along the way that they have nailed together to create a shelter,” DeHart shares. “It is horrible, but it is [a] shelter for them, and we would love to give them a home.”
Yet, while building houses for homeless families is an honorable act, it is essentially useless without the Gospel. For this very reason, For Haiti strives to portray Christ’s love in its work.
In fact, For Haiti’s reputation in Haiti is founded in just that, so when the ministry helps to build a house, it’s not only showing a family who Christ is, but also a community.
“It has been fascinating to us over the years that there is no jealousy from neighbors. They’re just absolutely thrilled for the family that’s getting a home and they will sometimes come over and just pitch in and start helping [build the house],” DeHart explains.
“So it strengthens their communities [in] knowing that everything we do is a gift from God. They are thankful to God, they are not thankful to us.”
Help Change Families and Communities
So if you would, will you help build a house and impact a family and their community for Christ?
You can start by praying for the families needing homes built, for their needs to be met, and for them to encounter Christ in the process. Also, please pray for For Haiti in navigating for whom to build a home. Finally, pray for For Haiti to continuously reflect Christ’s love with the Haitian people and for their hearts to be changed for Jesus.
Another way to help is through financial support. Since the costs of materials have risen in Haiti, it now costs between $10,000 to $14,000 to build a home. Will you donate to help build a house? As DeHart said, any church, organizations, or individuals can donate and have a house named after them.
To contact For Haiti about donating for a house, click here!