In the last 20 years, I’ve been a part of overseas volunteer builds and toured many permanent supportive housing projects in Los Angeles. But my visit to Nuevo Cuscatlán 1, El Salvador, was one I will never forget.
Nuevo Cuscatlán 1 is the first community New Story built in El Salvador. It’s home to 99 families who moved out of homelessness five years ago. Every family is still living safely in their homes to this day.
Unfortunately, it’s rare to have 100% retention when families transition from living in homelessness to living in their own homes. This is often because the homes fail to meet the unique needs of families and their respective cultures.
Every family thriving in their home is remarkable proof that New Story is working with locals to sufficiently solve chronic homelessness for a high-risk population. The implications of our model are so widespread and promising. I couldn’t be prouder of this team.
Families are taking ownership of their homes and their futures
My favorite moment from the trip was visiting Nancy and her family, who recently moved into Nuevo Cuscatlán 2.
Nancy beams with pride and has already made her living room bright and airy with color and butterfly paintings. Her home suits her well — sparkling clean floors and nothing out of place. She proudly showed us each room and the changes her family has made, including a kitchen expansion. I’ll never forget how grateful she was for the opportunity to have their own home.
One of our core values at New Story is “Team of Founders.” It’s our way of embracing an ownership mindset, a spirit of operating like you would if you were the founder of New Story.
People who display Team of Founders take pride in their work. Nancy represents this value in how she cares for her home. This is her family’s home — forever.
Impact you can measure
New Story families have a repayment rate from 85-98%, depending on the community. Most of the people we serve live on less than $10 USD per day and are considered too risky for a home loan.
Our micro-mortgage model allows unbanked families to gain access to affordable financing so they can build a credit history, buy a home, and unlock economic opportunities. In Mexico alone, families on average increase their monthly income by 63%.
Our homebuilding process also impacts 15 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. We are working to track more data points to prove our alignment across categories such as poverty levels, food security, gender equality, access to education, and many more.
Next Steps in El Salvador
We are soon breaking ground on one of the largest New Story communities to date: Lomas El Zonte (El Zonte Hills).
New Story communities typically do not exceed 125 homes, but Lomas El Zonte will house 250 families. Phase 1 will feature 122 homes next to a river and water processing plant. Phase 2 will include 128 homes across the street and on top of a large hill. The view will be gorgeous.
The scale of Lomas El Zonte is achievable because of our strong relationships with El Salvador’s Ministry of Housing and our construction and social services partner, Gente Ayundando Gente, who share our vision for affordable homeownership.
Beyond seeing our work in real life, we ate delicious food, stayed at a great hotel, and spent quality time with other impact-driven people.
Join us on a Vision Trip
New Story hosts nearly a dozen Vision Trips each year so supporters can see the work they make possible. Here’s what New Story Builder, Joe Ventura, had to say about his latest trip:
“It was interesting to learn more about the work New Story is doing, the reasons behind their approach, and how they are continuing to learn and evolve how they work to accomplish even better outcomes.
This was not a trip that made me feel bad for the residents, was not overly emotional, and there was no salesmanship. It was a trip that gave me confidence that New Story’s team is competent, solid people who are taking the right actions to help hard-working people who live in a developing country set a foundation to thrive in a sustainable way.”
I hope you join us for a three-day Vision Trip to Mexico or El Salvador. Every attendee learns a ton, leaves inspired, and is encouraged in the fight against global homelessness. I know you will experience the same.