AMERICUS, GA -- Christian housing nonprofit, the Fuller Center for Housing, just completed 10 homes in Haiti in response to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the country 10 months ago on Jan. 12.
"We've built six homes in Leogane and four in Saintard," said Fuller Center President David Snell. "The number looks a little modest until you realize that these are among the small percentage of permanent, affordable houses that have been built there since the earthquake."
The Fuller Center began coordinating construction efforts immediately following the disaster. The first house went up in May.
With processes and land in place, the organization's homebuilding efforts are accelerating. The Fuller Center has enough land in Leogane to build a total of 30-50 houses and additional land is being acquired in a village called Balan to construct another 50-100 homes. Two Fuller Center volunteer teams from the United States recently returned from building in Haiti and another 12 teams, made up mostly of church groups, will go in 2011.
"We now have the infrastructure in place. We can build houses as fast as we can get people and money to build them," Billy Ponko, head of Fuller Center operations in Haiti, said.
An average Fuller Center home in Haiti costs $3,000, an amount congregations large and small have found manageable to raise.
"The 10 families we've been able to help so far are tremendously grateful for the opportunity to move into decent, affordable homes," Snell said.
The Fuller Center is collaborating with numerous faith-based organizations including Fe ye Alegria Haiti (Jesuit), Baptist World Alliance, Grace International, and the University of Notre Dame.
The Haiti Housing Network -- a partnership of the Fuller Center, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Conscience International, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas -- plans to construct 1,000 houses in the next three years.
"With more than a million people living in tents, we feel a great sense of urgency to help as many people as possible," Snell said. 'We're at the vanguard of the permanent housing movement in Haiti. What we need are people of goodwill to come forward and help us take this to the next level."
Churches looking for a way to help can consider including the Fuller Center in their mission budget, designating this initiative for a Christmas collection, or simply sponsoring a house.