How Building Homes Strengthens a Country

This month, Creators of Hope explores four ways that our work building homes for Jamaica’s rural poor strengthens the country as a whole. Our focus for the first post in this mini-series is on crime: how does combating homelessness help reduce crime?

First we need to think about why crimes happen. They can happen for all kinds of reasons, some more understandable and some less so, and we’re not here to excuse illegal behavior. Let’s consider, though, what can motivate someone to commit a crime.

A person has to feel they have nothing to lose in order to risk the consequences of going outside the law. They have to feel desperate enough to get something, and have to feel that there’s no other way to get it, if they’re going to break our social contracts, run afoul of the legal system, and risk the consequences. That’s why crime thrives in environments where poverty is high. People with limited or no financial resources reach a point at which they have desperate needs and no clear way to meet them. These people often also feel they have nothing to lose. If they’re caught, it doesn’t matter, because not much worse can happen to them anyway.

PictureBuilding a Jamaican home in January 2018.

Creators of Hope seeks to change the lives of people in these circumstances. Building homes accomplishes three main things:

  1. It reduces the opportunity for crime, because individuals and families now have a safe space in which they can store their belongings, with secure access.
  2. It reduces the impetus to commit a crime, by relieving one of the new homeowner’s most pressing needs: the basic human requirement for shelter. Once the sense of desperation is lifted, and a person feels more secure, it’s far less likely that they would be willing to run the risk of committing a crime.
  3. It further reduces the impetus to commit a crime by taking away the sense of “nothing to lose.” A new homeowner now has an investment in his or her future, and his or her family’s future. They have a place to call their own, which leads to a greater sense of stability, and a greater sense of belonging to the community as a whole. With this new stake in their community and future, they are much more motivated to keep their lives on a positive track.

Creators of Hope believes strongly in the value of helping people to improve their circumstances and build better lives. Find out how you can help us, and visit the blog again next week to learn more about how building homes changes a country’s future.

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