Slum dwellers and homeless people belong to the marginalized sector of Philippine society that we got so used to seeing every day in Metro Manila. So used to seeing them that we become indifferent to their plight. Some of us even get to the point of blaming them for their situation. We have totally forgotten that they are victims of circumstances beyond their control. They are the people who need most of our help, our time, our resources and the very gift of each person.
According to statistics:
a. "An estimated 100 million people are homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing." (Habitat, 2015)
b. "The Philippines’ capital, Manila, has the largest homeless population among the cities in the world – 3.1 million. An estimated 1.2 million children and more than 70,000 rambles in Manila (IBT, 2014, Global Homelessness Statistics)
c. "Initial figures gathered by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)
showed the number of informal settler families rose from 1.5 million in 2011 to 2.2 million in 2015." (The Philippine Star, August 17, 2016)
d. “The government needs to build at least 2,602 units of socialized housing a day to address the 5.7 million backlogs in the next six years.” (The Philippine Star, August 17, 2016)
From another perspective slum dwellings are places where a high concentration of people with all kinds of social issues are often times left unaddressed. It is in these places where we see many poor, single parents, women, people with special needs, malnourished children, elderly, and broken marriages.
In these same places we see rampant use of illegal drugs, high incidence of illegal gambling, prostitution, human trafficking & different kinds of illegal activities. Here, we see a great number of people deprived of their basic rights and necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, health and education. They have difficulty nor have access at all to different government financial & social services and the society in general. They are also the people who are engaged in an underground economy but whose contribution to society, economy and ecology remains unrecognized.
Society sees them as a problem that is why, in almost all urban development projects, they are not part of space allocation in planning & utilization. They are brought to the peripheries to give way to urban development.
In the long history of the Vincentian Foundation, we have successfully purchased pieces of land and constructed houses for families displaced by man-made and natural calamities in different parts of the country through savings mobilization. The foundation has been involved in housing project since the late 1990s with its first land acquisition and off-site housing project in Montalban, Rizal in partnership with PSHAI (Payatas Scavengers Homeowners Association Inc.). Several years later, two on–site land acquisition and housing projects in Payatas, Quezon City were done.
The Ondoy Row Housing Project started in January 2014 and was completed on January 25, 2015.
The row housing project for the 12 families displaced by typhoon Ondoy was initiated by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP). Seeing the living conditions of these families who were temporarily accommodated in our Bagong Silangan after typhoon Ondoy, they decided to initiate in partnership with the foundation to construct their houses.
On October 2014, the foundation had its ground breaking/blessing for the construction of 25
bamboo duplex houses for our partner community in Bagong Silangan with members belonging to the vulnerable sectors. It was completed and blessed on May 18, 2017 by Most. Rev. Antonio Tobias, D.D, former Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches. Understanding and accepting the fact that funding for non-profit shelter infrastructure is a true struggle, the Foundation stays optimistic in presenting its hard-development programs. There is hope of attention and support from additional future partners and benefactors, who are blessings to the foundation’s cause.
Here are the three (4) projects that the foundation is currently and continuously working on and its geographical areas:
The Bamboo Village houses families of children with special needs and the elderly. This is the first low-cost housing using Bamboo as the primary construction material in the Philippines. With Base Bahay Inc., 21 houses were built for occupancy.
AFACSA, the People's Organization of this location, has closed their land acquisition and is set to proceed with home development soon! With the help of a generous donor, the village they have been waiting for is becoming a reality soon.
A people's organization called MMVHAI have been granted a property where their safe havens will soon rise. With the help of different stakeholders from the government and private sectors, their dream homes will be built from their savings mobilization efforts.
Land negotiations are ongoing for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) are still in progress. Their hopes to move away from no-build zones are stronger than ever. Whatever the pace may be, the progress continues.
There's more to be done before they reach their promised land. As of the moment, we need supplies, expertise, and your time to make realities out of dreams and developments. We need you.
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