Terry Naig wants the word to get out: Haiti needs homes. And he's hoping that others throughout Iowa will step up to lend their support.
Naig, Palo Alto County Farm Bureau President, is challenging county Farm Bureaus throughout the state of Iowa to raise money to help build homes for Haitians left homeless by the 2010 earthquake.
"By raising awareness of the project at a grassroots level in all counties, we think we can be successful all over the state," said Naig. He presented the challenge at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Policy Information Conference held in February.
The Palo Alto County Farm Bureau Board has already allocated funds to purchase one home. The SafeTHome, designed by Brett Nelson of Sheffield-based Sukup Manufacturing Co., is 18-feet wide by 14-feet tall. It is made entirely of metal and is resistant to termites and moisture. Each home can sleep 10 or more and features a double-roofed system that displaces heat, two windows that can be locked from within, and a water collection system. The SafeTHome can also withstand strong winds and is virtually earthquake proof.
The homes will be erected in the Village of Hope, a five-acre community located near Les Cayes, Haiti, which was established by the Iowa-based Global Compassion Network. The village provides transitional housing, food, and medical assistance. Nearly 50 SafeTHomes will be located in the village.
Each unit costs $5,700, has a life expectancy of 75 years, and can be assembled on-site with simple hand tools. Shipping totals approximately $400 per unit; $500 is needed to equip each SafeTHome with a concrete foundation.
The idea to offer housing assistance to Haiti is the brainchild of Pocahontas County Farm Bureau member Ken DeYoung from Laurens. DeYoung, a pilot, has flown several humanitarian missions to Haiti in the days following the earthquake.
The campaign, titled Special Delivery: Homes. Help. Hope. For Haiti, is being coordinated by the Iowa Food & Family Project and co-chaired by Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. The Global Compassion Network, Sukup Manufacturing Co., and Meals from the Heartland are also involved. Several farm organizations and ag businesses have pledged their support, including the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Soybean Association, Cargill-Iowa Region, and Monsanto.
"The campaign appealed to the county Farm Bureau because it is both Iowa-based and farmer-based, and because it is helping people in desperate need," said Naig.
Monetary donations to help the effort may be sent to the Palo Alto County Farm Bureau office at: 2904 Main Street, P.O. Box 281, Emmetsburg, IA 50536.
More information about the housing campaign can be found online at: iowafoodandfamily.com/specialdelivery/.