New Story supporters,
You back our mission because you believe in doing things differently to reach the world’s most vulnerable families. Halfway through 2022, I am most proud of our progress in creating a financially sustainable path to homeownership. As an entrepreneurial team, these last six months have been exhilarating as we continue to see the extraordinary potential of this model’s impact.
Q2 brought us new partnerships with banks, developers, and impact investors. More importantly, we further qualified a strong demand from low-income families who want to buy their homes and land.
As excited as we are, creating a financially sustainable path to homeownership for vulnerable families is incredibly challenging work. So, we are focused on getting better before we get bigger. We’re choosing to slow down new projects in order to get the architecture — pun intended — right for the financially sustainable model we want to scale in 2023 and beyond.
Global economic issues and an impending recession are presenting new challenges for us all. For example, construction costs rose 10% in Mexico within a month. We are taking economic issues and uncertainty seriously, but we won’t let the season paralyze us. Too many families are in urgent need of housing for us to stop building solutions. This is why we’ve been intentional since our founding to build a strong foundation with a long-term vision that can withstand years of macro challenges. We are taking calculated risks with products and models, but not with our financials, culture, or growth.
You will see more in the report, but here are two ways we have made tremendous progress in creating a financially sustainable path to homeownership model:
- In Puebla, Mexico, we’ve secured property to build two communities and have 220 families contracted to buy their land and homes on mortgage terms ranging from 10-30 years depending on the family’s desire and income. The target is for families to start moving into these homes by Q3.
- We started partnerships with a housing developer and a local credit union in Jalisco, Mexico, to start construction on the first community of nearly 250 homes that does not require philanthropy. In 2021, most of our homes required nearly $2,000 in philanthropy per person. Our partner will start construction in Q3 and plan for families to move into their homes by the end of 2022. We have already identified other areas in Jalisco to scale this innovative housing model in 2023. You can watch a video of the community here.
Thank you for enabling us to finance and build housing differently. I can’t wait for you to see the results and life-changing stories you make possible.
This quarter, 166 families moved into new homes and we started building 360 more homes across Mexico and El Salvador.
Our team recently visited Ocuituco, Mexico to see the growth of this 85-home community.
An earthquake in 2017 displaced most of these families, destroying their homes and forcing them to survive in ruins with tents and dirt floors.
Today, families are thriving in their new homes and starting businesses to sustain their community. Our personal favorites are an ice cream shop and a luchador mask maker.
Check out this video of our team visiting Ocuituco.
Breaking ground in March 2022 and completing construction in July, the 50-home community in Juayua, El Salvador, is our fastest project to date. When families lack safe shelter, every day without a home matters. This is why we’re thrilled to build these 50 homes at a historically fast pace.
Family feedback throughout the construction process helped us build efficiently without sacrificing home quality. During our Lean Participatory Design process, we learned about families’ needs so we could design their community accordingly. Here are some key learnings that influenced our design:
- Families don’t use hot water or individual water tanks. This gives us more freedom to arrange spaces like the kitchen and the bathroom.
- Families appreciate having neighbors since they’ve never had any.
- Most families are eager to cook with gas instead of firewood, but they’re most likely to use both fuels for a while.
Juayua is a compelling example of why we practice inclusive design. Designing alongside locals empowers communities and developers to work together to build with efficiency and empathy.
Traditionally, we’ve relied on local partners to qualify vulnerable families, source land, and build homes. In Huaquechula, Mexico, we’re practicing a vertically-integrated approach by taking complete ownership of the entire homebuilding process. We’ll always hire local labor and depend on local expertise, but we’re project managing the homebuilding lifecycle rather than outsourcing the project.
By leading every aspect of development, we’re gaining more control over speed and output capacity, while also gaining invaluable knowledge we can share with other organizations tackling homelessness.
Our team has secured land and is preparing to build homes that vulnerable families will repay over 30 years. We believe the same mortgage process that benefits your family should also benefit vulnerable families.
We’ve already hired two local architects to manage on-site construction. Our next steps are breaking ground by the end of July and building out a local office to accommodate our growing team. As our team expands, so do our housing solutions. We’re proud to bring a new affordable housing model to Mexico for families in need of safe shelter. Thank you for making this groundbreaking solution possible.
Ana Patricia lives in Ocuituco with her husband, who works as a public transport driver. They used to live in an overcrowded space, borrowing a room with Ana Patricia’s mom. Now, they have their own home.
“I keep telling my husband I love it here, more than where we used to live,” Ana Patricia says. She loves the natural light in her bedroom, and recently added a new closet. She also started an ice cream business out of her home to make an income and keep the community cool. She sells flavors like Nutella, cookies and cream, mango, and lemon — all homemade and packed in small, snack-sized plastic bags. Here’s a video of our team tasting Ana Patricia’s delicious treats!
Ana Patricia’s next home project is building a small fenced-in patio so her dog, Gordita, can play safely outside. Above all, Ana Patricia is excited to have her own space. “¡Es todo mio!” (It’s all mine!), she tells our team.
A Groundbreaking Partnership
Innovative partnerships are at the heart of how we work. Global homelessness is too large to tackle alone. And since families’ vulnerabilities are multidimensional, housing solutions should be too.
We’re currently partnering with UR+PA, an award-winning housing developer, to make homeownership more accessible and affordable for low-income families across Jalisco, Mexico.
- We purchase land and divide it into multiple units
- Families make small monthly payments towards their unit of land and services (water, electricity, and sewage)
- When families complete the payments, they receive a property title that serves as credit for a low-interest loan
- UR+PA builds a starter home that families can easily and safely expand as their needs change
- Upon completion of construction, families move in and start making payments towards their homes
Our solution with UR+PA requires the market to work together to offer low-income families an affordable opportunity to become homeowners. We’ve partnered with a local credit union to access mortgages and philanthropic partners are making impact investments that allow us to fund the land and home cost upfront.
You can email [email protected] to learn more about your impact investing opportunities for similar housing projects.
In the Spotlight
world urban forum
Our team joined a panel of global thought-leaders at the World Urban Forum in Poland to discuss a greener urban future. Joanne Ng, New Story’s Senior Manager of the Impact Team, shared how climate-smart housing innovations can help combat homelessness in an environmentally-friendly way.
the pomp podcast
Brett Hagler, New Story CEO and co-founder, was a guest on The Pomp Podcast to share how we’re creating a financially sustainable path to homeownership for the bottom billion.
Thank you, Builders, for enabling us to hire six remarkable team members in Q2.
One of the best ways you can support our mission is by helping us find top talent with a passion for impact. You can share our current career opportunities here.
Straight from Slack
A growing team across Latin America means we have greater access to the families you support and the stories they’re building — stories like Don Roberto and Maria’s. Here’s Raúl, our recently hired program coordinator, sharing his experience of visiting families in El Salvador.
See Our Vision in Action
Vision Trips are the most compelling way to see the work you make possible. You’ll join other impact-driven leaders to visit communities in Mexico or El Salvador, where you’ll get a behind-the-scenes tour of our work and meet families you’re empowering.
Here’s what Joe Ventura, a New Story Builder, said about his recent Vision Trip:
“I am grateful I had the opportunity to visit El Salvador with the New Story team.
It was interesting to learn about the work they’re doing, the reasons behind their approach, and how they are continuing to learn and evolve how they work to accomplish even better outcomes. Apart from my curiosity, from a financial standpoint, I wanted to know where my money is going.
New Story’s team is taking the right actions to help hard-working people who live in a developing country set a foundation to thrive in a sustainable way.
Going to El Salvador with the team gave me an even deeper conviction that this is an organization that I will continue to support and be involved in.”
We have a few spots left for vision trips happening later this year, and we’d love for you to consider joining us. Can’t make it to the field? That’s ok! We can also come to your city to co-host an event for your community. If you’re interested in a Vision Trip or a local event, please contact [email protected].