– As part of the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, Habitat for Humanity publishes a guide for hurricane housing construction and repair. 

SAN JOSÉ (October 13, 2017) – Habitat for Humanity has published a manual as part of celebrations of the UN-promoted International Day of Disaster Reduction (IDDR), which aims to simply explain key solutions to prevent wooden houses from being damaged in the event of a hurricane.

This booklet explains the main vulnerabilities of light houses and buildings (made of materials such as wood) against strong winds and rains, and proposes some low-cost technical improvements to make houses stronger and safer. “The recommendations given here are useful both for the construction of new homes and for the reinforcement of existing ones, and it is aimed at the entire humanitarian community, hoping that they will be useful during reconstruction efforts after this catastrophic 2017 hurricane season” explained Javier Cidón, Caribbean Response and Risk Reduction Manager for Habitat for Humanity.

The motto for this year’s IDDR celebrations has been defined by the UN as: “Home, home insurance” – Reducing exposure and reducing displacement. “The connection between a safe home and the family’s capacities to be resilient is highlighted. Therefore, this day is a great opportunity to position our effort to include the disaster risk reduction component in all our housing programs and be aligned with UN advocacy efforts, “continued Cidón.  Cidón also detailed that the guidelines manual was developed as part of a Habitat project funded by USAID-OFDA (United States Office of Foreign Affairs focused on Disaster Assistance) in Jamaica and whose main objective is to strengthen the community fabric to make it more resilient to the threats of natural events.

The complete guide in Spanish or English can be accessed in this link.

For Jaime Mok, Manager of Risk Reduction and Response of Habitat Office of Latin America and the Caribbean, the concept of resilience refers to adaptation, and goes beyond the construction of resistant housing: “Resilience is also about how to quickly recover from damage. The final pages of this handbook offer some advice on what to do just before the storm, in case our house is still not safe enough. The target audience is both construction professionals and members of the community interested in safer construction.”

IDDR began in 1989, following a call by the United Nations General Assembly to promote a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and becoming aware of the importance of controlling the risks they face. The 2017 edition continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign focused on the seven objectives of the Sendai Framework. This year focuses on Objective B, which aims to reduce the number of people affected by disasters by 2030.



About Habitat for Humanity 

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

Our disaster response initiatives have been focused on offering technical expertise in humanitarian response, home building and sustainable shelter construction to serve more than 230,000 families in 52 countries. This includes building approximately 80,000 new homes and repairing more than 126,000 around the world in the wake of disasters. In addition, to reduce future shelter vulnerability, Habitat has provided training and other services in disaster preparedness and mitigation to over 690,000 people.


The BRACED program introduces a neighborhood-based approach to urban disaster risk reduction through a collaborative partnership with ADRA/Jamaica, Terra Tek, and key actors in the DRR sector in Portmore Municipality. Over a 33 month program timeline, HFHI will work within Gregory Park, Newlands, and Naggo Head neighborhoods to develop community redevelopment plans, supported by a suite of DRR-oriented shelter improvements, community projects, and awareness programming targeting the residents of urban settlements facing high levels of risk exposure. HFHI’sneighborhood- based approach will be shaped by a carefully staged series of preliminary assessments (risk identification, community consultation) which detail the vulnerability to multiple hazards that are endemic to the selected neighborhoods. Risk assessments will promote community-coalition building through enhanced dialogue and an overarching theme of “mission consensus” to unify residents to mobilize in support of risk reduction and hazard mitigation strategies.

Private sector round-tables will take place to establish and maintain critical relationships with the target communities, and to establish sustainable resource partnerships. The program will be implemented in close technical collaboration with the University of the West Indies, who will provide overarching consultation, technical support, and key participation in quality assurance and program monitoring, largely through an active leadership role on the Project Advisory Team.

BRACED Program Goal
To reduce both household and collective vulnerability and mitigate risk in the most hazard- prone urban neighborhoods of Portmore Municipality.

Shelter and Settlements
Increase structural resilience and decrease vulnerability to hazards through community-based redevelopment.

Risk Management Policy and Practice
Reduce collective risk to urban water and sanitation issues, improve infrastructure, and resources through planning, upgrades, and technical assistance.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Reinforce community coalitions and risk reducing redevelopment initiatives through sustainable and meaningful public-private partnerships.



Having strong oversight in the execution of BRACED II is critical to the project’s success. This is carried out through the Project Advisory Team (PAT).

Overall, the PAT aims to promote participation, transparency, sharing ideas and technical consultations regarding the implementation of the project.

The PAT is guided by the central goal of BRACED 11, which is to Mitigate community vulnerability to natural hazards and disaster events by increasing the neighborhood’s resilience through work at both the settlement (infrastructure improvements) and shelter (security to reside) level; the latter contributing to the neighborhood’s ability to formalize itself, connect to the municipality’s redevelopment plan, and bring future investments to both infrastructure and housing.

PAT members comprise persons from the following agencies and organisations:

  • University of Technology (UTECH)
  • Social Development Commission
  • Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC)
  • Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC)
  • LAMP
  • Jam-Habitat for Humanity
  • Naggo Head BRACED Committee/ Naggo Head Citizens’ Association
  • Housing Authority of Jamaica (HAJ)


“BRACED” Land Administration Management Programmed (LAMP)

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017. 

On May 30th 2017, members of BRACED Project Advisory committee met at the LAMP office to deliberate on the progress of the project and to advise on the way forward. Members of the committee included LAMP, Parish Development Committee (PDC); Portmore Municipal Council;

Ms.Delrose Campbell Land  Law Attorney  for Jam Habitat; Naggo Head Citizens Association (NHCA); ODPEM; Ms. Binns Opposition Spokesperson on Land; Ministry of Economic Growth and Job creation and JamHabitat’s Commissioned Land Surveyor Mr. Valeer. B. Mahon.

Ms.Salina Soloman, the Land Technical Expert for JamHabitat; assisted by community members presented the updated map of Naggo Head. She stressed the integral part these community members played  in identifying  the parcels of the land in Naggo Head; their land owners; carrying out verification of parcels in the field and in sensitizing community members on the regularization process. Preliminary findings now suggest that there are two hundred and thirty (230) parcel  to be surveyed  with a possibility that  one hundred and thirty (130) parcel will gain title.

Mrs. Sherece James, Jam Habitat’s GIS Analyst presented on the GIS design, mapping and verification process so far and plans for the next steps. She detailed how GIS will be used in collecting the socio, economic data in the upcoming enumeration process and in the development of the redevelopment plan.

The importance of systemising; or documenting the entire process to garner lessons learnt and improve the implementation process was outlined by Mr.Damien Williams JamHabitat’s Field Operation Manager. Four cross cutting themes will be used in the analysis of the implementation process namely; participation, governance, social Inclusion and sustainability. This process will also be captured by Ms. Campbell in a Fast Track Audit that  will detail the regularization steps  and make recommendation for improvement in the process.


May 16 – 17, Lima, Peru.
USAID/OFDA funded projects, in Latin America and the Caribbean outlined their plan for transition at the two day conference in Lima, Peru. Implementing agencies from Peru, Colombia and Jamaica met and shared on achievements, implementation processes and strategies for transition and sustainability.
Jamaica Habitat for Humanity (Jam-Habitat) was represented by Javier Cidon, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Expert (LAC); Dr. Paulette Griffiths, Project Manager; and Damien Williams, Field Operations Manager. Together, the share Jamaica’s experience and best practices in using the participatory methodology, plans for sustainability and also suggested the importance of giving attention to process and the number of indicators, which may make sustainability impractical or severely impact it.
A field trip to one of the project sites and stakeholder meeting were also organised as part of the conference to give the participating agencies a first hand look of a project that was in the process of transition. Jam-Habitat is nearing he transition of BRACED, a USAID/OFDA funded project, being implemented in three communities in Portmore, St. Catherine, Jamaica.

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