PORT-AU-PRINCE, January 19, 2011: It’s not a house and it’s not a tent, but somewhere in between. The two SoftHouse structures installed in the Yéle-supported Place Fierte Tent Camp in Cité Soleil last week have a poured concrete foundation, a structural steel frame covered by high-strength mesh fabric, and a full-size door that opens on hinges. Yéle is partnering with the Haiti SoftHouse Group to build an initial 20 units as part of our upgrade of the Place Fierte Tent Camp.
The SoftHouses are very spacious inside with 166 square feet and no interior supports. The outer walls starts at 8 feet and the roof goes up to 14 feet in the center. Cross ventilation is excellent because of screen panels that can be covered during rain and at night. If necessary, the whole unit can be taken down by hand and moved in a matter of hours. And given the location, it is important to note that the SoftHouses are engineered to resist both category 3 hurricanes and earthquakes.
There is no single solution to the housing needs of the more than one million people still living in tents, but what is clear is that tent camps are going to be around for a considerable time. The SoftHouse is put forward as one option that bridges the gap between tent and permanent home, and which is flexible enough to be used afterwards for commercial or other secondary needs.
PHOTO: The first two SoftHouse structures have been installed as part of the Yéle-sponsored upgrade of the Place Fierte Tent Camp in Cité Soleil. Photo: Yéle Haiti.