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Gift of steel to help build low-income houses
Local steel giant, ArcelorMittal Point Lisas and Habitat for Humanity T&T (HFHTT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for donation of 40 tonnes of steel billets in 2014.
ArcelorMittal is partnering with Centrin, part of the Bhagwansingh’s Hardware group, to roll and cut its donation of billets into steel rods which will be utilised in the construction and repair of low-income houses.
A release from HFHTT said this is the first time the organisation has received such a donation and it is estimated that this donation would cover steel requirements for approximately 50 houses. Ultimately, this community investment is expected to cut housing costs for HFHTT and its home partners by approximately $5,100 per house.
HFHTT national director, Jennifer Massiah, in her welcome address at the launch event held on July 17, hailed ArcelorMittal’s donation of steel billets as a significant community investment towards the building of low-cost houses for Habitat home partners. She said the donation was testament to the strength of the partnership forged between ArcelorMittal and the NGO over the years.
ArcelorMittal’s managing director and CEO, Robert Bellisle, affirmed ArcelorMittal’s commitment towards making a positive contribution towards its host community and underscored the importance of corporate volunteerism and community engagement.
Also speaking at the launch event were HFHTT board member Prem Persad Maharaj and Harmony Hall resident Satrilal Kisto.
ArcelorMittal, Bhagwansingh, Coosal and TCL are also involved in HFHTT’s Build Community projects and their contributions were recognised at the event.
About THE PROJECT
Harmony Hall was chosen in December 2013 for the pilot Build Community project, which will continue through November 2014. The first of its kind for HFHTT, project Build Community, will see up to 21 families of Harmony Hall, Gasparillo, receive material and up to 25 families benefit from hands-on skills training, the release said.
The initiative seeks to use a different model to help work around HFHTT’s challenge of land ownership—critical to qualifying for Habitat housing. Using this model, most home partners have already earned donated house repair materials through the hours they gave working on a demonstration house in their neighbourhood. Further, residents have worked with and received training from a team of skilled carpenters from the US.
The combination of materials donation and ongoing training will allow these families to carry out much needed repairs on their own homes. In this way, project Build Community aims to transfer construction skills and teach self-reliance, putting the future into home partners’ own hands.
The Harmony Hall Community demonstrates a significant housing need. Residents were longtime squatters in the area and after lengthy meetings with the Land Settlement Agency the community was identified for regularisation. Approximately 190 lots were identified, of which 140 are occupied. Given their land situation, most of the families are unable to approach financial institutions for funding to adequately meet their housing needs.