Welcome to Titanyen!

Here is where we’ll keep you updated on your community’s progress.

Overview of Haiti

Population: 10.2 million

Language: Creole (French)

Major religion: Christianity

Life Expectancy: 61 (men), 64 (women)

Currency: Gourde (HTG)

GNI per capita: $760

Titanyen, known locally as the “valley of death,” has a central place in the minds of Haitians.

Titanyen is a sparsely populated town close to Port Au Prince and also home to one of Haiti’s largest public cemeteries. During the 1950-1985 dictatorship of Francois Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude, the bodies of thousands of political prisoners and executed government opponents were dumped there. The 2010 earthquake killed an estimated 150,000 people across Haiti and about 1 in 13 residents of Port Au Prince. With limited burial space, Port Au Prince was quickly overwhelmed and started sending its dead to Titanyen. The cemetery quickly hit capacity and mass graves had to be dug. Roughly 10,000 people were buried in the seaside hills of Titanyen in the year following the earthquake.

Who they are today

The people of Titanyen today are a resilient, tough group doing their best to put the past behind and start a new life. Most of those living in Titanyen are refugees of the 2010 earthquake and many came from Port Au Prince. Port Au Prince was devastated by the earthquake and many people were left homeless or staying in refugee camps. Rather than deal with difficulties of the city, people packed their bags and headed to Titanyen. Titanyen is now home to approximately 13,000 residents. Roughly half of those are children. 

Titanyen is located 45 minutes north of the capital Port Au Prince. The location is a beautiful but barren terrain that looks out over the sea on the western side of Haiti. The land for this project lies at the foot of a mountain range not far from the main highway to Port Au Prince. 

Titanyen’s basic economy is centered around its marketplace. Citizens come down from the mountains or from Port-au-Prince to sell their produce and/or other products. The market is open three days a week. Other than the marketplace, there are a handful of churches, schools, and small family boutiques where items can be sold.  Few people have stable jobs or skills training and most make a living buying and selling whatever is available to them. Unfortunately, the soil is not the most conducive to growing crops and families without proper training rarely have success.

A symbolic community of hope and tenacity

Despite their troubles, the people of Titanyen are hopeful for the future. With some help to overcome their obstacles, these people can have a bright new future. Let’s help these families start a new hopeful chapter for the area of Titanyen and the people living there!

June 12, 2019

Red and blue roofs for Titanyen!

Most homes for phase I are done and the roofs are being put on and painted! Our local partner Mission of Hope chose to paint them red and blue as a tribute to the Haitian flag and to show of respect for the historic cemetery nearby. We aren’t sure what colors the families will choose to go with red and blue but our usual pastels probably won’t make the cut! We admire the respect given to Haiti’s turbulent past and that it will be represented in this optimistic new community building a new future for Titanyen. Pictures will be coming soon of the families painting their homes. Can’t wait to see what they choose!

March 26, 2019

Phase I (175 homes) is 52% complete

52% of the homes in Phase I are now completed! Most homes need to be roofed and the area cleaned up but we are making solid progress now that things have calmed down in Haiti. It feels great to be making consistent progress again and the team is ready to start preparing the land for Phase II as we finish up these homes in Phase I.

March 4, 2019

Haiti’s trouble must not be forgotten

As we try and put the worst of Haiti’s latest troubles behind us, NPR shared a great article on how to move forward and learn from the latest upheaval in Haiti. If interested, read more about how we can learn from situations like the one in Haiti and make improvements to try and keep it from happening again. https://www.npr.org/2019/03/04/699001166/opinion-haitis-troubles-must-not-be-forgotten

February 1, 2019

Roadblocks and road closures

While the peak of the violence is mostly past, protests, vandalism, and roadblocks continue to happen. Our team is still dealing with delays and we appreciate your patience as we deal with this unpredictable situation. Updates on construction to come soon!

January 24, 2019

Arial shots of construction process

When visiting the field we often take the drone to capture progress and get a better look at the land. See the above drone shot taken by our partner during their latest trip to the field. Walls are being assembled and the final foundations are being finished! It is so exciting to see the first shapes of a new community finally coming together.

January 10, 2019

50% of Phase I foundations are laid

Roughly 65 foundations nearing completion, with block, in-ground plumbing fittings, rebar grid, rock/backfill, and vertical rebar for pillars in place. Another ~50 sites are in the earlier stages of foundations. The final 60 sites have been leveled and staked out. Progress has been slow since the unrest across Haiti started but we have been able to slowly resume construction. The unrest will delay our project but we are proud of the teams involved for persisting during this incredibly stressful time.

December 21, 2018

Construction is underway but paused

Construction progress can be seen here. Before the riots started in November we started construction and began laying foundations. Construction is still paused but the equipment is in place and the process has begun. Once the situation has calmed down and we know that it is safe for our partners and Titanyen is accessible construction will resume. We are not sure when this will be as of now. Stay tuned.

November 19, 2018

Anti-corruption protests and riots rock haiti

Six people have been killed and at least five others wounded during anti-corruption protests across Haiti, according to police, as anger grows over the disappearance of billions of dollars linked to a public finance program. All work has been paused as our local contractor and local partner take time to make sure their families are safe. Roadblocks and protests have shut down access to the main road out of Port Au Prince to Titanyen and construction will be delayed until the situation has calmed down. This is a scary time for the families of Haiti and for our partners. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and we are supporting any way we can. Haiti: Six killed in anti-corruption protests

August 17, 2018

Land prep continues

Here a dump truck helps moves soil around to create a level space for the community to rest. We prefer to build the community in a space together rather than single homes across the valley. After the soil is flattened and evened out we will begin construction shortly!

August 8, 2018

Land prep begins

We have received feedback from the families and are working on version 2 of the community design. Now it is time to start clearing and preparing the tough landscape so we can start construction. Our local contractor has started clearing the land and making it more level. Soon community designs will be finished, land will be clear and we will be ready to start construction.

July 19, 2018

LPD Workshop

These last few days New Story team members traveled to Haiti to run a Lean Participatory Design Workshop. In these workshops, we present the home recipients with the first draft of a design for their community. They people provide feedback on where they would like homes to go, issues with the land and other critical information that only they know. Their input is essential to building the best community we can for that truly feels like theirs because they helped design it! LPD Workshop Video

July 13, 2018

Titanyen Lottery

In Titanyen, town leadership and Mission of Hope representatives met with the many people in need of a new home. With so many deserving recipients, a lottery had to be done to select families to receive homes in this first community. The people were very gracious and supportive of each other and we walked away from the day with 300 families chosen for further vetting for our community. The community is very excited to finally have a hope of building more permanent housing in their new home of Titanyen.  

June 23, 2018

We have land!

After a lengthy legal process to determine the rightful owner of this piece of land, our partner won! New Story and Mission of Hope now have ownership of this land and we are ready to start prepping the land for construction. The land is tough, uneven and will take some time to clear for home building but we have the right team for the job!

Community & House Design

Overview

This project will consist of two phases due to the unusually large number of homes we are building. For this project, we have two large pieces of land 5 minutes walking from each other and the whole thing will be considered one community.  We will build 300 homes total, 175 in phase I and 125 in phase II.

Getting land is never easy

The land was found by our local partner Mission of Hope (MOH). Getting land is never a straight forward process but especially in Haiti. Haiti has terrible land registration systems and few people have legitimate deeds. Often numerous people claim they own the same land.  The trick to find out the truth in Haiti is to “stake out” the property, putting sticks around the property line. This signals to the community that someone is about to build on this land. At this point is when other “potential owners” could claim their property and request to find out who is planning construction. We had to leave the property marks up for about 6 months, waiting long enough to give everyone a chance to speak up, before we moved forward with construction.

Community Design:

Here we have an early-stage design for the community layout of Titanyen phase I. New Story works with a top-notch team of volunteer urban designers that help us design our communities. We then share the designs with the families in their upcoming Lean Participatory Design workshop to incorporate the communities feedback in the final design.

Home Design:

The homes we are building will cost $8,300 which is slightly more expensive because of higher local material prices. Each home will feature two bedrooms, a washroom, living room, and a front porch. Given the hot climate of Haiti, people spend a lot of time outside and this front porch was added to give a shaded area to cool off during the day.