Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
Families Served Current FY: 1,477
Total Houses Constructed: 20,822
House Sponsorship Cost (USD): $3,120
Av. Las Americas 9-50, zona 3
Supercom Delco, Tercer Nivel, Office 3
Phone: +502-7-763-5308
Fax: +502-7-767-1301
URL: http://hfhi.org/script/link.aspx?r=3&url=www.habitatguate.org


A woman sweeps in front of a shack in Guatemala.


Santos Mahil Cahy and her son Orlando Cahy in front of their Habitat house.

The first Habitat houses in all of Latin America and Caribbean went up in Guatemala in 1979, specifically in Aguacatan, Huehuetenango.

HFH Guatemala was created with the purpose of improving the living conditions of low-income Guatemalan families through the construction of decent low-cost houses. The organization’s vision is that everyone in Guatemala should have access to a decent house.

Structured as a community organization that includes the participation of more than 1,300 volunteers, HFH specializes in working with those families that have no access to the national financing system (banks, cooperatives, etc.) and who are living in sub-human conditions.

An average 3,000 Habitat homes are constructed each year in 15 departments; 70 percent of these houses are in rural zones and 30 percent in urban areas.

Depending on the future homeowner’s payment capacity, the house may measure from 32m2 to 51 m2. The loan for the cost of the house is granted for an 8-year term, through monthly installments of US$21, which represents a third or a fourth of the cost of renting a single room.

Houses are built with the following materials: cement blocks, iron, tin roof sheets, metal doors, four windows and wood. All these materials are easily found in the communities. The design is anti-seismic, making the constructions safer for families.

In Guatemala, there is a need for 1.6 million houses. Currently, families live in huts or crowded in a small rented room. The great problem is land tenure; since many invade property belonging to the state or to individuals, most poor families are not the legitimate owners of the land they inhabit. These properties do not have basic utilities and are located in high-risk areas, mostly in urban zones. Also, there is a high degree of delinquency and crime.

Due to the conditions in which they live, there is a high risk of maternal and infant death due to gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin diseases.

Other hindrances that poor families wanting to build a decent house face are: lack of legal documents or property deeds; loans at an interest rate ranging between 18 to 30 percent; lands located in ravines, river banks, etc.; and land at prices unaffordable for the poor.

Due to their income level and to the type of guarantee they offer, many families claim that without HFH, they would not have been able to build their homes. By the end of 2005, HFH Guatemala hopes to be present throughout the entire country and celebrate the construction of house number 25,000; by the end of 2008, the hope is to hand over the keys of house number 40,000.


Location: Central America
Climate: tropical
Population: 12,640,000
Economy: primary exports include coffee, sugar, bananas, corn, cardamom
Government: republic
Religion: predominantly Christian
Literacy: 55 percent
Language: Spanish, Mayan languages

Affiliates in Guatemala

Affiliate Name City Website
Central, HPH Chimaltenango
El Progreso HPH Guastatoya, El Progreso
Barcenas HPH Miami
San Lucas Toliman HPH Miami
San Marcos HPH Miami
Totonicapan HPH Miami
El Rosario HPH Miami
Xela Occidente HPH Miami
Norte Habitat p/l Humanidad Miami
Tikal Peten, HPH Peten
Sur Oriente HPH Quetzaltenango
Izabal HPH Quetzaltenango
El Quiche, HPH Quetzaltenango
Suchitepequez HPH Quetzaltenango
Escuintla HPH Quetzaltenango 09901
Nororiente HPH Zacapa

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