Even in a Mexican city well-known for its American expatriate population like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, there is much of the same poverty and poor housing which is rampant through Mexico and much of Latin America. Bad weather can mean a harsh time or even death. A dozen years ago in 2001, the weather was especially bad. The unusually cold winter weather brought home the extraordinarily difficult conditions that many Mexican families lived under. In response to the deaths caused by the extreme weather, Jeffrey Brown, a San Miguel resident, stonemason and graphic artist, with the help of Irma Rosado, a local human-services consultant, secured a small donation and formed Casita Linda, A.C., a Mexican non-profit.
The organization’s mission was to create a dignified, safe and empowering environment that will provide a foundation of hope for families living in extreme poverty. The plan developed called for this to be accomplished through the work of four teams that select the families, build the houses, assist in creating a sustainable environment, and link families with local nonprofits that can help improve their way of life.
Casita Linda(Cute Cottage) began to build its first house on July 10, 2004. The house was built for Estefania, a 104 yr. old woman living in La Huerta. The house was finished and inaugurated on August 29th of that year. The second home was started soon after but wasn’t finished until January 2005. It was for Juan Luna Rosales and his family. The long building process was due to the fact there were often only Jeffrey Brown (the non-profit’s founder) and one or two other volunteers working.
Casita Linda’s mission was and is to create a dignified, safe and empowering environment that will provide a foundation of hope for families living in extreme poverty through the building of improved housing, reinforced by the creation of strategic alliances with other nonprofit organizations to take advantage of their expertise in areas such as structural engineering, social services, animal care, and the donation of furnishings and other household necessities.
In early 2008, Casita Linda partnered with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to design and build a more environmentally and energy-efficient house. The RISD model with subsequent design adjustments and improvements has resulted in houses that are warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Since 2006 Casita Linda has built, on average, eight homes annually.
Casita Linda A.C. now also works in partnership with the San Miguel Community Foundation, a 501c3 US tax exempt charity in its fund raising efforts. US tax exempt donations may be made through the Foundation.
By the way, as of this writing, the organization has passed the sixty(60) house mark.