Re-visioning The Frame

One of World Shelters’ overarching goals is to get people to rethink the way things have always been done and to see if we and other disaster relief agencies can do better. If we treat transitional shelter as an asset instead of a cost, we can provide families with the first step towards taking control of their own lives instead of being dependent on outside aid.

Our current system is rife with untapped potential. World Shelters believes that by implementing a locally-coordinated program that combines Transitional Shelter, loan capital, and investments we can more effectively jump-start community rebuilding. World Shelters has the ability to either support distinct elements of such a program or to coordinate an overall program. Here are some of those distinct elements as we’ve envisioned them.

While the sheeting provided as the ubiquitous relief material does provide a possible partial shield for families from the elements, the lack of similarly-provided frames is a major shortfall in meeting shelter needs. This has led to other problems, such as the massive cutting of already limited hardwood branches and trees in Haiti to support sheeting and to create shelter. The JAS Shelter Kit from World Shelters offers an ultra-low cost framing system that can easily turn simple sheeting into Transitional Shelter.

Land availability for shelters away from levitra generic destroyed neighborhoods is also a significant constraint. Land acquisition, land tenure resolution, community planning, and additional necessary facilities and services are all prerequisites to provision of framed shelter that will be in place for any extended period. World Shelters envisions “Neighborhood Clusters” as manageable-scale scenarios that create teams of families to more effectively rebuild homes, enterprise, and community. These massively-replicable, neighborhood-scale projects go a long way towards addressing the land availability issue. In Haiti in particular, vast amounts of rubble has limited the amount of land available to build on. World Shelters can provide gabions, wire cages in which rubble can be cleared away and stored, and then repurposed to build walls or help with erosion control. In addition to the basic provision of gabions, we can help provide in-country program coordination, including gabion production start-up in Haiti.

World Shelters has devised a method to jump-start the cycle of self-sufficiency. By leasing land from private Haitian land owners we can provide families with safe, sturdy, and easily-built Transitional Shelter that includes water collection, composting toilets, and solar panels for electricity for only $4 a day. Rent can be paid daily on simply-acquired cell phones, with payment or non-payment able to be monitored remotely from the United States. While for some the concept of daily payment may be hard to wrap their heads around after being accustomed to an entirely different way of doing things, this method can not only encourage continuous productivity but can also infuse the community with some much-needed routine stability – not to mention providing, in addition to shelter, basic necessities like electricity, potable water, and sanitary waste disposal that many people might otherwise find difficult to come by or completely un-affordable.

Even the basic provision of quality Transitional Shelter can help a family along the path towards becoming highly productive members of the community. When we start treating shelter as an asset to be managed celebrex reviews instead of as a cost to be burdened with, than the recipients of

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Transitional Shelters are being given the means

to work towards self-sufficiency. Assets increase a family’s balance sheet and provide collateral in order to help finance loans. Family members who have their needs provided for them by Transitional Shelter are more available for work, both in and out of the home, and thus are able to generate more money. Children who are raised in Transitional Shelter have more opportunities to study outside the home, be it at school or at a trade, helping to create a new generation of intelligent, productive workers. These workers, their basic needs supported by Transitional Shelter, collectively deliver both cash and productivity into the community economy.

Once a family has their Transitional Shelter as collateral and their increased productivity earnings, they have the ability to qualify for and to repay loans. It is as important, for many reasons, to bring capital into a recovering community as it is to bring in required shelter materials. Loans can be used for rebuilding on the family’s site; to extend and integrate the Transitional Shelter into a more preferred, permanent design using local materials. Loans are particularly needed for enterprise creation and expansion in order to build and support the local business community. World Shelters has also envisioned Neighborhood Clusters as loan collectives, where all participants are collectively responsible for repayment of the loan. This encourages individual repayment by providing not only a strong support system but also helpful pressure to repay for the good of everyone involved.

One of the keys to rebuilding a community is the ability for individuals and families to generate a livelihood. Many self-generated enterprises will arise from the initiative of sheltered families, but there is more we can do to support additional start-ups. Any product or service that is needed in significant volume can become a channel for new enterprise creation. Necessary elements for such creation include capital, local business and government integration, a good site, and project management – all of these elements are achievable. Regenerative enterprises can expand their products and/or services beyond their original locality, thereby increasing revenue in the community as a whole. World Shelters has a number of ideas for start-up enterprises, such as creating a company that uses gabions to clear rubble,

create walls, and prevent erosion, but in many cases what is needed will be site-specific. What is important is that with the help of Transitional Shelter, local individuals and families are given the chance to work and provide for themselves, increasing not only their personal quality of life, but the quality of the community over-all.

The provision of inclusive Transitional Shelter is the first step towards getting people back on their feet, able to work as productive members of society, whatever form that may take. When we take the struggle out of having potable water, finding a sanitary place for waste, or living in a structure that provides reliable safety and privacy, people can put their energy into work and productivity. If communities are fighting every day for those basic needs, the road towards rebuilding and betterment is going to be a long and hard one. World Shelters wants those affected by disasters to be able to break the chain of reliance on relief organizations and, through the benefits of Transitional Shelter, move towards a lifestyle where they can rely solely on themselves.

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