8.10.12

Haiti´s first Ministry of Housing

The following summary is based on an article of El Mercurio, Manuel Valencia (29.09.2012) entitled “El constructor chileno de Haiti” (The Chilean builder of Haiti). Brief and translation by Beatriz Maturana.

Photo: El Mercurio, Guillermo Rolando

As director of the Fundación América Solidaria (Solidarity America Foundation) and having spent two years in Haiti, Guillermo Rolando assisted a military contingent sent from Chile to Haiti to provide humanitarian aid during the stabilization period that followed the 2004 military coup against President Bertrand Aristide.

Most recently, while serving as Director of the Division of Housing Policy of the Ministry of Housing (MINVU, Chile) and moved by the devastation left after the Haiti earthquake (2010) that flattened the capital and killed about 300,000 people, Guillermo accepted the responsibility for the creation of the first Ministry of Housing in Haiti. Six months later, this newly formed Housing Ministry of Haiti, modelled around the Chilean Ministry of Housing, is approaching its first program for housing subsidies and plan for permanent residencies for those affected by the earthquake. This is certainly not a small task for Guillermo Rolando in America´s poorest country and one of the poorest countries in the world.
After his routine trips around the city and its shanty towns, Guillermo reflects “Haiti hurts everywhere. There is a post-earthquake shanty-town called Canaan and this constitutes the fifth city in the country” and he continues, “Then I think, how is it that in 2012, with all the world´s economic growth, there are regions where this degree of misery can take place?”
The new housing policy model will include a percentage of government subsidies complemented by the savings of the beneficiaries. The model also considers some initial urban guidelines, the application of regulations for seismic construction and standards for construction materials. A pilot project will be built next year, but in the meantime much is to be done for the most vulnerable, such as the allocation of lots with sanitary services.

Undoubtedly Guillermo Rolando has taken on an immensely important project and from here we wish them all the very best and we will keep posting.

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