Costa Rica-specific information


In 1988, Habitat began working in Esparza, Costa Rica. In its first three years, the Esparza affiliate built 50 houses. Then, in 1991, with the introduction of an ambitious government housing program that gave away houses to the poor, Habitat ceased construction in Costa Rica. However, due to large cutbacks in the government program, and with an estimated 35 percent of the Costa Rican population living in substandard housing, Habitat was invited to begin working in San Ramon in 1996.

Beyond the support received from HFHI, Habitat for Humanity Costa Rica (HFHCR) seeks to increase the impact of its mission through volunteer support, responsible administration, and donations of funds and materials. HFHI constructs and rehabilitates houses with the help of labor from partner families which serves as their down payment in place of a deposit of money. The houses are sold to these families by means of a no-interest loan repaid over a ten to fourteen year period. The average cost of a house in Costa Rica is approximately $5,700. Monthly payments are deposited in a rotating "Fund for Humanity" which is then used to build more houses.

HFHCR is directed and administered by a National Committee, through a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors meets throughout the year to establish policies and supervise national operations. The national office of HFHCR is in located San Ramón and it is supported by the HFHI Area Office for Latin America and the Caribbean which is located in Rohrmoser, Costa Rica.

HFHCR actively promotes other programs. The Church Relations Program motivates both local church communities and those abroad to contribute financially and spiritually. The Student and Youth Program provides a framework for young people to get involved. The International Day of Prayer and Action for Habitat for Humanity is held in conjunction with HFHI the third Sunday of September of each year.

Habitat Costa Rica also organizes Short-term missions work teams or "brigades". School groups, church groups, company-organized groups and open groups (open to anyone), arranged through HFHI's Global Village, come to Costa Rica to help in the construction of houses for one or two weeks. In 2002 HFHCR will host more than 30 international brigades and more than 15 national brigades.

In mid-2002, Habitat Costa Rica included six active regional affiliates (Occidental, Cartago, Central Pacific, Nicoya Peninsula, Alajuela, and Monteverde) which had already built over 325 houses in 13 communities. The national office is currently developing new affiliates in six new communities, and during the course of 2002 hopes to begin construction in at least three affiliates.