Thanks in large part to a grant from Fundación Acindar, the ArcelorMittal Foundation and Daimler Financial, HFHA has been able to offer workshops and construction advice to low-income families, as well as increase awareness within the community in order to encourage more families to take advantage of our resources. Between July and December 2010, 143 families in Luján and Buenos Aires participated in legal and financial planning classes led by Habitat volunteers and representatives of businesses and law offices, who provided their services pro-bono.
Although the holidays and summer heat loomed near, our program of Habitat Tent lost no momentum during the final months of 2010, with multiple daylong events taking place in Buenos Aires and Lújan. One such “Tienda Habitat,” the first of a series sponsored by Gas Natural Ban, focused on three areas: legal literacy, safe gas usage and technical assessment. The first part of the day focused on questions of land tenure. Volunteer lawyers from Marval O´Farrel y Mairal handed out folders with clarifications of legal terms and conditions of property ownership. As it stands now, residents of 22 de Enero have government documents ensuring their right to the land, but they have yet been able to complete the process attaining full ownership. The law studio is working to help the community put the wheels into motion so that they have the proper legal documentation for their individual plots.
After a lunch of homemade pizzas baked in the solar oven owned by one of the residents, Gas Natural Ban held the second workshop of the day, offering information and answering questions about responsible gas consumption in terms of safety, health and family finances.
Additionally, throughout the day, a team of advisors trained in construction and architecture crisscrossed the neighborhood offering technical consultations to families wishing to make changes to their housing situation.
HFHA also used the Habitat Tent in La Matanza as an opportunity to recognize seven families on their responsible loan payments. This presentation provided both parties (the families and Habitat) the chance to express their gratitude, and helped articulate the impact our work has made in the community. On our end, we are thrilled that this money can go back into the Rotating Fund and make available new loans. Perhaps Pablo, who has received Habitat loans as well as worked as the foreman on other Habitat families’ projects, said it best:
“Since Habitat has arrived, the neighborhood has changed. Now there are people moving forward with their houses.”