Our Official Beginning 2004: Joe Collins, Founder of From Houses to Homes:
After visiting Guatemala in 2001 and experiencing the sub-standard living conditions first hand, Joe could not get the indelible picture of poverty out of his mind. A country filled with breathtaking volcanoes, verdant hillsides, tight-knit families, traditions and pride, however most of the indigenous people were living in squalor. The government programs to help the poor were, and continue to be, either ineffective or inadequate, not to mention discriminatory.
Joe decided to return to Guatemala as a volunteer. He volunteered over the next 2 years on 14 different occasions for another NGO. Joe believed if he started his own organization he could be sure that most of each dollar donated went to help the poor. In 2004 FHTH become a registered 501©3 Joe started by building one house at a time, with the help of a team of Guatemalans he had met while volunteering.
Joe's dream now becoming reality gained momentum and soon From Houses to Homes was building 3 houses a week. From Houses to Homes became Joe’s life mission. Whenever he was asked why he did this work, he replied: "Why not?" Tragically, Joe passed away in July of 2013. He died knowing that From Houses to Homes would continue to serve the poor of Guatemala and carry out the mission he started in 2004.
On October 10, 2015, after having built 983 homes, From Houses to Homes celebrated its 10th Anniversary:
On March 19, 2016, we celebrated the construction of our 1,000th home, although to that date we had constructed 1,029 homes!
The previous year, the Board of Directors decided they would come to Guatemala and build the 1000th house in honor of our Founder, Joe Collins. At the time, according to our projections the 1000th house would have been built in March, however since we have the most generous supporters we bypassed 1000 in January! Thus in March, as previously planned our Board of Directors joined hands and hearts to build homes 1000 and 1001 to commemorate this amazing milestone. The plaques have a quote that Joe loved, "there is no greater reward then doing something for someone who can never repay you."