This week, in the last installment of our series on the impact that building homes can have on a country, Creators of Hope takes a look at how combating homelessness among Jamaica’s rural poor strengthens the economy of the country.
When we build homes for the individuals and families we work with, we don’t see it just as creating a structure where people can live. It’s the foundation of a better future. With roofs over their heads, families can focus on finding secure and sustainable ways to bring in income. For the rural poor, this often means finding better ways to make their farming work sustainable, and finding ways to bring their harvests to market to sell to the public. Eventually we plan to provide more professional services and support for entrepreneurs, in order to diversify local business.
When families are able to earn money to support themselves, this increases the health of Jamaica’s economy overall. At present, much of the economy depends on the tourist trade. With more families able to run their own small agribusinesses, however, local business grows. People who earn money are able to spend it, supporting other local businesses. The money goes around the circle, and meanwhile, people aren’t as dependent on what small aid the government can provide.
For a country’s economy to thrive, it has to be built on solid foundations. A baseline of prosperity has to exist, such that the basic needs of the citizens are met, and they can make money, save money, and spend money, particularly on local shops and industries. People who can sustainably take care of themselves and their families also have the leisure, time, and resources to diversify their work and bring new types of business and industry to Jamaica. This kind of diversity also leads to economic strength, because the country isn’t dependent on any one particular type of industry.
We at Creators of Hope know that when we build homes for Jamaica’s rural poor, we are helping to grow and strengthen the economy of the country as a whole, improving conditions for generations of families to come. Find out how you can help us, and especially learn more about our mission trips, in which we get volunteers on the ground to build homes for the families who need them. And be sure to visit the blog again in March, when we’ll highlight volunteer stories and photos from our most recent trip!
This week, Creators of Hope takes a look at how building homes for Jamaica’s rural poor improves individuals’ productivity and ability to support themselves financially.
We’ve talked about the ways in which homelessness makes poverty even worse and harder to bear. We’ve talked about the stressors of having no safe place to call your own, and how in communities of homeless people, crime can escalate because of people’s desperation, and illness can spread quickly because of the harsh living conditions. We’ve also talked about how building homes can reverse both of these trends and make communities safer and healthier.
Now let’s look at another significant piece of home ownership: home as an anchor, investment, and motivator.
First of all, home is a literal foundation for the life of an individual or family. With the basic human need of shelter met, people can look ahead to what they would like to do next to build a life. They have something on which to build that life, roots that they will be able to strengthen.
Second, a home provides physical safety and stability. It’s a place where people can rest, take care of themselves and each other, and marshal their resources and energy. When life isn’t a day-to-day struggle against constant insecurity, fear, and stress, people are better able to focus their attention and energy on finding and keeping good employment. They want to build on the anchor that their home has given them.
Third, home is a motivator. When you have a space of your own, you want to take care of it, keep it in good repair, and over time, improve on it. Creators of Hope has seen this vividly with the families we’ve helped over the years. The homes we build are simple, designed to fill a family’s needs with the minimum of expense, but the families themselves work to build on these simple shelters and make them beautiful. When you have a place of your own, you’re no longer in a position where you have nothing to lose. You have an investment in your future, and you will work hard to keep your investment strong and growing.
We at Creators of Hope know that when we build homes for Jamaica’s rural poor, we aren’t just “giving something away” – we’re helping people to better help themselves. We believe strongly in the value of supporting people as they improve their circumstances and build better lives, both for themselves and for their communities as a whole. Find out how you can help us, and visit the blog again next week for one more installment on how building homes changes a country’s future.
This week, Creators of Hope looks at how building homes for Jamaica’s rural poor improves the public health of the country as a whole.
When we think about what home provides for us, one of the things we think about immediately is the sense of physical safety we experience when we have a place of our own. When you step into your house at the end of a long workday, do you notice yourself relaxing right away?
Think about how necessary it is to be able to relax that way, and how beneficial it is for your body. Now, on the other hand, think about how exhausting it would be if you couldn’t get that kind of peace and quiet at the end of each long day. Think about how your body would react. Stress weakens the immune system so that illnesses can’t be fought off effectively. By building homes for Jamaica’s vulnerable people, and giving them relief from constant physical and emotional stress, we’re combating the effects of that stress on people’s bodies, and helping support their health.
Home is also the place where you can control your environment. You can keep your home clean and dry and maintain the temperature where it’s comfortable for you. You can take shelter from bad weather, so that you aren’t exposed to the elements. If you’re not feeling well, you can limit your exposure to other people, so that you don’t spread your germs or pick up new ones while your body is weak. Minor illnesses stay minor when you can take good care of yourself.
In all of those ways, your home is an essential resource when it comes to maintaining your own physical health. Now imagine if you couldn’t take shelter from wet or cold weather, and the effects that would have on your body. Think about what could happen if you had something as minor as a typical cold, but you couldn’t take care of yourself, rest in a comfortable place, or keep your environment dry and clean and safe. Think about how quickly, under those circumstances, your minor cold could get much worse. Think, too, about how quickly sickness could pass from person to person, in a group where everyone was worn out, stressed, and exposed to tough environmental conditions.
We at Creators of Hope know how important home is to keeping people healthy. We believe strongly in the value of helping people to improve their circumstances and build better lives, both for themselves and for their communities as a whole. Find out how you can help us, and visit the blog again next week to learn more about how building homes changes a country’s future.
This month, Creators of Hope explores four ways that our work building homes for Jamaica’s rural poor strengthens the country as a whole. Our focus for the first post in this mini-series is on crime: how does combating homelessness help reduce crime?
First we need to think about why crimes happen. They can happen for all kinds of reasons, some more understandable and some less so, and we’re not here to excuse illegal behavior. Let’s consider, though, what can motivate someone to commit a crime.
A person has to feel they have nothing to lose in order to risk the consequences of going outside the law. They have to feel desperate enough to get something, and have to feel that there’s no other way to get it, if they’re going to break our social contracts, run afoul of the legal system, and risk the consequences. That’s why crime thrives in environments where poverty is high. People with limited or no financial resources reach a point at which they have desperate needs and no clear way to meet them. These people often also feel they have nothing to lose. If they’re caught, it doesn’t matter, because not much worse can happen to them anyway.
Creators of Hope seeks to change the lives of people in these circumstances. Building homes accomplishes three main things:
Creators of Hope believes strongly in the value of helping people to improve their circumstances and build better lives. Find out how you can help us, and visit the blog again next week to learn more about how building homes changes a country’s future.