- Making a contribution to tackle the severe housing shortage of affordable housing in Mexico
- Creating of a housing microfinance fund for 25,000 potential householders from under-served populations by 2017
Mexico suffers from a severe shortage of affordable housing: nearly 9 million families are inadequately housed at any given time. For low-income families who lack the collateral needed to obtain home loans, this situation has led to an inescapable cycle of poverty. Living conditions affect all aspects of human development, from health and education to social advancement, thus housing improved has a big impact for both affected individuals and the whole society.
The social enterprise ¡Échale! a tu Casa, in cooperation with Business Call to Action, provides low-income families in Mexico with the opportunity to own a safe, affordable and environmentally friendly home through innovative lending and an assisted self-building program. Each participant receives all the necessary materials and instructions to build a two-bedroom home at a lower cost. Building materials and access to credit are brought to communities throughout Mexico. At the core of ¡Échale! is on-site production of a green material, Adoblocks (compressed earth blocks), and community organization, construction waste and pollution are minimal. Communities are trained with technical capacities to build their own homes and supervised by certified architects. Regarding the financing, ¡Échale! designed a line of customized credit products to finance the houses or home improvements and has incorporated one of the first Community Financial Society (SOFINCO) in Mexico which allows families’ savings to be used as a financial guarantee to obtain government or commercial bank loans.
By harnessing innovations in construction technology and finance, ¡Échale! a tu Casa has streamlined the self-build process: 30,000 houses have already been built and more than 150,000 home improvements made in Mexico alone. The community’s participation in building the homes not only provides needed employment but strengthens households’ incentives for repayment. The technology has also been exported to Belize, Egypt, Haiti, Nicaragua and the United Arab Emirates.