Building affordable homes to empower communities
Affordable home builder and Business Call to Action (BCtA) member ¡Échale! a Tu Casa has made an ambitious new pledge to provide 12,500 new low-income clients with access to sustainable housing solutions and financing in Mexico by 2022.
According to Mexico’s National Housing Commission, there are 9 million families in the country without a home; 6 million of these do not receive public social security or other benefits. An additional 4.9 million families live in overcrowded conditions or in unsafe houses constructed of fragile or dangerous materials.
¡Échale! caters to Mexico’s vast market of working families who spend approximately 30 percent of their income on shelter – and typically pay high prices for low-quality construction materials. Unlike housing in higher-income markets, their expenditures do not hold value or generate community cohesion. By contrast, ¡Échale!’s housing solutions are sound, durable and sustainable, building a sense of civic pride since they are self-built by local people working together for the good of their community.
The company’s inclusive business model combines self-build assistance, community participation and innovative financing. Its newest housing initiative is designed to benefit more than 7,000 families and create job opportunities for around 10,000 people – impacting over 20,000 people in all.
At the core of this successful initiative is the Terrapress technology – a patent-protected process that combines the use of Adoblocks (compressed earth blocks), on-site production and social mobilization. Adoblocks are made from earth and other natural materials, which do not pollute or create construction waste.
The company provides new homeowners with self-build kits, which are used by local community members to build new or improve existing houses – providing a valuable source of temporary employment. ¡Échale! has also designed a line of customized affordable credit products to finance the self-build kits.
In January 2012, ¡Échale! joined the BCtA with a commitment to provide US$25 million in microfinance lending to help 25,000 families earning US$5 per day purchase home self-build kits by 2017. With the success of its inclusive model, the company is now expanding to six new regions in Mexico and pledging to provide 12,510 new low-income clients with access to financing and sustainable housing solutions by 2022. In the process, ¡Échale! aims to employ 10,000 temporary workers from local communities in new home construction.