Habitat for Humanity CEO in Costa Rica

In a visit to Central America, Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford shares his ideas about Habitat for Humanity on a global level and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (September 1, 2011) – Habitat for Humanity International CEO, Jonathan Reckford, is in Costa Rica for the Regional Resource Development Conference for Habitat Latin America and the Caribbean, from today through Sunday.

During the event, representatives from Habitat for Humanity organizations in more than 14 countries will share their experiences in developing strategies for generating the financial resources necessary to continue confronting the problem of inadequate housing in the region.

The conference is occurring within the current context of a global economic crisis, which extends in large part to the resources Habitat for Humanity historically receives in Latin America and the Caribbean from U.S. donors.

“We are working hard to strengthen and improve this support, but the most exciting trend is the development of fundraising initiatives within each individual country. It is there that we see great opportunities to increase our regional fundraising,” said Reckford.

The objective of the event is to support Habitat organizations in the consolidation and acquisition of new resource development tools, so as to raise Habitat for Humanity’s collective capacity to serve 25,000 low-income families annually in the region.

A total of 60 people will attend the event.

Mini-interview with Habitat for Humanity International CEO, Jonathan Reckford What is the major problem to resolve in terms of the lack of housing for poor people in Latin America? The greatest challenge to resolving such a large challenge in Latin America is to change the will of the people. Resources exist, but we have to change attitudes.

We need to convince people that housing is the foundation for improving entire communities. If we don’t address shelter, we cannot resolve issues of health or education or livelihood. If we establish the critical nature of housing, we can resolve some of our other challenges like fundraising and acquiring resources.

We also need to partner with others, because Habitat cannot do it alone. We need to create coalitions to generate social change.

What kind of actions will Habitat be taking in the months ahead? In the short term, we are rolling out MicroBuild, our microfinance program, and we will employ a combination of disaster response, advocacy and an array of incremental housing solutions—in addition to our core homebuilding—to increase the number of families and communities that we can serve.

In the long term, we are working on our global strategic plan, and we hope every country program will work alongside us to lay out the specific, long-term steps it will take to solve housing issues locally.

About Habitat for Humanity Latin America and the Caribbean
Habitat for Humanity first opened its doors in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 1979, and has since helped more than 100,000 low-income families to access adequate housing in the region. Headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Latin America and Caribbean regional office coordinates the efforts of 16 national organizations, as well as unique partnerships throughout the region. For more information, visit habitatlatino.org.