Archive for March, 2014

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Laudable Labor from the Institute of John XXIII

This is a translation of an article that appeared in La Prensa over the weekend. It highlights our work with the Institute of John XXIII as we seek solutions to the housing crisis in Nicaragua. Read the original article here (Sp). The institute of John XXIII was born inspired from the innovative ideas of Pope John XXIII, now beatified and then promoter of Second Vatican Council. Founded on July 22nd, 1961 at the University of Central America by then Jesuit priest Noel Antonio Garcia Castillo. In its first years of work, The Institute was aimed towards the projects that would help in the development of students. Their first project was literacy promotion among laborers through night classes. Since the earthquake in Managua in 1972, attention has been put on natural disasters and national emergencies. In 2011 the Institute celebrated 50 years of work in the human development field and the promotion of social justice. Specifically working in areas fundamental to human rights, facilitating the access to dignified housing and quality health services. The Institute also follows the process of human development in vulnerable sectors of the population. First the Home The Institute of John XXIII facilitates housing for Nicaraguan families of scarce resources, working within their economic capacities. There have been 3,723 homes built in 31 municipalities, benefiting 20,000 people. First the Home offers four services: home construction, remodeling, technical assistance, and legal advice. The program has focused the last few years in the Matagalpa department, in the municipalities of Sebaco, San Isidro and Dario. In Managua, the focus has been on the Sandino municipalities, Tipitapa, Ticuantepe and Villa El Carmen. Health Coverage The Institute of John XXIII also advocates for the promotion of health with the COMSALUD program, providing beneficiaries with access to integral health services. Their principal goals are the supply of medicine, medical attention, professional update of medical personnel and the capacitation to the dispensaries of Social Drug Sales. The program annually serves 300,000 centers of Social Drug Sales and provided 80,000 medical consultations in 55 municipalities in 15 departments and in the RAAN region. Their implementation is possible thanks to the work associated with the Health Network, integrated through 103 centers, among them Parish dispensaries, religious communities, non-profit organizations, and the collaboration of MINSA.
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Housing Deficit in Nicaragua: No End in Sight

The following article originally appeared in El Nuevo Diario, and was translated from Spanish to English by Yancy Rivera.

The housing deficit in Nicaragua has no end. Currently, there is a shortage of 957,000 houses and each year the demand increases by 20,000 units, of which the private and public sector only cover 50%, according to the Chamber of Developers.

Between the private and public sector there are only 10,000 units constructed a year, which is insufficient to meet the demand, announced the president of Cadur, Ricardo Melendez.

The 20,000 homes that correspond with the annual aggregate demand are the result of the formation of new family nucleus’.

We are not yet at the level that we should be constructing annually, that is to say, what the country needs and we are not taking into consideration the deficit which is still untouchable, Melendez mentioned.

Last year, Cadur, through some of their partners, were barely able to place 3,500 homes. For this year– Melendez added– they project to sell 500 more houses, 4,000 total.

For 2005 there was a calculated lag of about 400,000 homes. Starting in 2010 the deficit surpassed half a million houses, and kept increasing until it reached the current levels.

The Response

To satisfy this demand there needs to be 647,805 new houses, according to data from the sector.

Additionally, there is an urgent need to improve 309,176 homes that are in poor condition, Melendez emphasized.

To attack the problem, between 2007 and 2011 38,347 homes were constructed. Of these, 19,526 were built by the government, 11,215 by towns, and 7,606 by the private sector, according to data from the Institute of Urban Living.

Until 2016, there are 77,854 residencies projected to be constructed by the public and private sector.

US$45 million dollars of the funds that the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security injected in the Finance System to give mortgages created a positive effect to dynamize the sector, however they have run dry.

The capital served to to cover a ceiling of 4,800 houses of social interest.

“The positive effect of dynamizing the sector has been done, we’re with funds from the banks, but if you realize the trend of placing houses has not changed, the projects are still being sold”, Melendez stated.

Reform

Due to this, the developers are not attending the constructions of social interest, and have been in talks with the government for months looking for an alternative to the problem.

Cadur is asking for a reform to Special Act 677, for the development of housing and the access to social housing, approved in 2009, that jump started the construction and sale of social homes.

The law provides a series of fiscal benefits to homes valued at US$20,000 or less. The developers are asking that the ceiling be raised to US$30,000.

70% of the houses that are being offered through the projects have costs less than US$50,000, at the moment.

“Even if we raise the prices of houses, we can increase construction, so that the subsidies will go to more sectors of the population, not limited to social housing. The subsidy would go to families that earn US$600, US$700, not just US$500”, Melendez mentioned.

Financing

Just in 2013 the local financial system allocated US$420 million in mortgage credits, which meant a 15% increase with respect to 2012, signaled Alberto Atha, director of the Chamber of Developers in Nicaragua, Cadur.

For 2014, according to Atha, they expect the mortgage credit to grow 17%.

“We need to construct 7,000 houses a year or 10,000 just in the private sector and we’re barely reaching 4,000.”

-Ricardo Meléndez, President of Cadur

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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)