How does a family in poverty acquire a place to live?

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The family of one of my children may need to look for a new place to live. (They may have to leave the place they are currently living in.) What is that like for a family who can only afford food? From what I read in the past, people in poor countries construct a shack in a row of shacks in the poor part of town. In our country, people rent, live in a hotel, or move in with friends. And, yes, in larger towns some go to shelters or live on the streets.

In reality, what are the possibilities for a family living in poverty? What does a rough shelter cost in a country such as Guatemala? What does just a piece of land cost? Would a sponsor's donation of a family gift come close to doing anything to help? Or would it be way to little to be able to make a difference regarding a housing issue? I'm so glad to see my sponsored children have the local churches and Compassion centers to assist in making big decisions like these. I would hate to see this particular child have to leave the area in which he is receiving help from. I just wonder, in reality, what the options look like.

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Beth

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Posted 2 years ago

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Katherine

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Hi Beth! Did one of your children mention in a letter that he and his family will be moving? Did he mention why? It would be great if they are moving because his parents found a better  job and can afford to live in a better home. I agree with you, we definitely don't want them to leave the program and move away if their situation has not improved. It's hard for us to say how much land or housing may cost, since we don't have specific information like that and I don't know about this child's situation. Of course, you are welcome to send a family gift and it if you do, whatever you send will be helpful to the family. However, the family may choose to use the gift on something other than housing if they have a more immediate need. Can you tell us more about the situation and what he included in his letter about moving? If he didn't include any more information other than just that he may have to move, I would ask him more about it. Maybe ask questions like if they're moving far away, why they are moving, and if he has an idea of what their new home may be like.
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Beth

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Katherine, Yes, Manuel mentioned that they live in a 'borrowed' house but they may need to get out because the owner wants to 'remodel'. I know in this country that can mean 'get out because you are not profitable'. Manuel also said they don't know where they are going to live. He said they only have money for food. And I know the situation is terrible for many, many people in that country. I just learned last week that the last family gift I gave was used to provide better income production for Manuel's mother and older siblings, which is great. This poor family lost the father/husband to violence soon after I started sponsoring several years ago. I am so grateful that the Compassion center has been working with the family to help them make wise decisions.

I have another child in another region of the country whose family as a small 'farm'. They used one gift to purchase tin sheets, and the next gift to purchase concrete blocks. I can only assume that these would be to provide a better shelter for the family, and if not that they are being used for a 'barn'. But this family is already fortunate to have a property to put their improved living structure on, unlike Manuel's family. That's why I am wondering, in reality, what it is like for a family who really has nothing in Guatemala. We are very blessed here.

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Katherine

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Beth, thanks for sharing that information with me. Wow, it's so heartbreaking that Manuel lost his father and in such a horrible way. I can absolutely see why you would be worried about this family. I don't know where his family is in this tough process and I can't guarantee what kind of home they may find, or even that this won't cause him to have to leave the program. I pray this wont be the case!! Honestly, I don't know what their income looks like or in what area they need to live for their jobs, since that information is not available to us. Truly, what I do know is that the church partner will do everything they can to help that family and they will do everything they can to keep Manuel in the program. They will certainly not just stand by and watch when a family in the program is homeless or doesn't have food. That church is their family and their home and they will fight for Manuel and his family. Help from the church may come in the form of the pastor or a church member offering up their home or finding a friend who will let Manuel's family stay with them for a time. The center and the church partner will continue to help as much as the possibly can. I know this means it's a time of uncertainty for you as his sponsor because you are aware of the issues Manuel is dealing with but you don't know how they are going to get through it or if they have a plan for what comes next. I hope it gives you some peace that they are not alone and there are people surrounding them who do care about them. 
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Beth

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Thanks. It's kind of strange, all we see is the poverty side of it. Apparently there are people in these countries who are doing ok financially. I never hear about them. Anyway, it's good to know that the church is committed to helping.

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