Jack Robertson shows off Spero Society's new protype

Jack Robertson shows off Spero Society's new protype

Homes and hope for Haiti

There’s hope for Haiti yet.

Spero hope.

Spero Society, a Chilliwack, faith-based, non-profit organization, is building homes for Haitians left homeless after last year’s mega-thrust earthquake.

On Jan. 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the third-world country, killing more than 200,000, and injuring an estimated 300,000. It also destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and displaced more than two million Haitians. It was the third deadliest earthquake in the world.

And now, one year later, many are still without homes.

Spero, meaning hope in latin, is working to change that.

“I don’t think we’re unique in wanting to help this country,” said Jack Robertson, executive director of Spero. “A lot of people saw the devastation wrought by the earthquake. Haiti is already the poorest country in the western hemisphere and the recovery will take at least two decades or more … we had to do something.”

When a local business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, donated his aluminum and glass railing systems business the society had its mission.

They had the means to build homes.

“Our mandate is to provide permanent homes to victims in developing countries,” said Robertson.

Several aid agencies are already on the ground trying to get displaced Haitians out of tent cities and into homes. But what is different is that several of those agencies are building small, transitional homes, built from plywood and tin, and costing anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per home.

Spero, however, is bypassing the transitional homes and building permanent homes instead.

“Most organizations are trying to get [Haitians] out of the tents and into transitional homes, but these homes are only built to last three to five years,” said Robertson. “The problem with these transitional homes is that five to 10 years down the road, there’s still going to be people living in them. They’re going to become shanty towns, slums.”

The Spero homes, which are 41 square metres, are built out of aluminum framing and trusses, stucco walls and a tin roof. They have three bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and a porch with an overhang to provide necessary shade in the warmer climates. They cost $3,800 per home and will last more than 50 years, said Robertson.

“They are impervious to rot, mildew and termites, and they are resistant to earthquakes and hurricanes,” said Robertson.

And they’re easy to build.

“Two to four people could have a house built in a half a day,” said Robertson.

Spero is working with an aid agency, that has already purchased 10 acres of land, to help build a community that would consist of 100 homes, separate kitchen facilities for each, a church, school and a medical clinic.

But Haiti’s not the only place the organization is focusing its efforts. It’s also working to help those in the local community.

Spero has teamed up with BC Teen Challenge, a Christian-based rehabilitation program for young men and women, and will be employing Teen Challenge clients to help prepare the housing products for shipment. The clients will be trained in skills that include welding, grinding, assembly work, shipping and receiving.

“Not only do we want to impact Haiti, we want to work in our community as well,” said Robertson. “We’re going to be providing training to our own marginalized people. We’re not giving them a hand out, we’re giving them a hand up.”

While the society has the means to offset its overhead costs through Spero Industries, its aluminum and glass railing business, it still requires funds to ship the houses to Haiti.

One container, which fits 15 houses, will cost $57,000. So far, the society has raised $10,500.

“It is crucial for us to get funding for our first container to go down,” said Robertson.

The society hopes to send its first container within the next two months.

For more information on Spero, visit its website at www.sperosociety.ca.


Just Posted

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Folks look through some of the items for sale during the Voice of Hope giant garage sale at 7350 Barrow Rd. in Chilliwack on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Giant garage sale today in Chilliwack supports Kenyan widows, orphans

Funds go to Chilliwack-based Voice of Hope charity to improve quality of life for impoverished Kenyans

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read