The FHA was launched with the goal of ending homelessness, one house at a time. That’s what moved Ana María Escaño in Malitbog (Southern Leyte) in the Philippines, to launch the “Just One House” project. An initiative that aims to be a template easily replicated anywhere.
Ana María is a member of the Vincentian Marian Youth, although there is no local group. Despite the lack of organised Vincentian presence, Ana María was moved by a sense of urgency due to the level of need in the area. She is looking to mobilise the community, local leaders and officials to support the poorest of the poor involving neighbours, relatives and volunteers.
The first step is to find people living in inadequate housing. They focus on beneficiaries who own their own land. If not, they’ll try to get a written agreement with the owners before building the new house. The construction process will be followed by further support to provide training, entrepreneurship and employment
So far they have built 10 houses. Roberto Cañon, Jr is one the first people identified. He lives in Lambunao, an uphill barangay in Malitbog, Southern Leyte. Roberto makes his living climbing coconut trees. He can do up to 80 a day but they can only be harvested only every 2 and half months. His wife, Adelfa, suffered a stroke and has been bedridden. He can no longer go to work to other villages because he has to go home at lunchtime to prepare food for his wife and his daughters.
There are many other stories similar to that of Roberto’s that need just one house to start a path to a better life. We’ll bring you how this project is changing lives like Roberto’s and his family. We also hope that the “Just One House” initiative could be replicated by branches and parishes groups all over the world. Even refurbishing a single house will be a crucial step in our journey to end homeless, Just One House at a time!