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El Paso organization builds homes in Juarez colonia

Siguiendo los Pasos de Jess, Following in Jesus’ Footsteps is an organization trying to develop a self-sustaining community in one of the poorest colonias in Cd. Juarez.

“There are a lot of people in need here,” said Enrique Estrada, one of the coordinators who lives in the colonia.

SPJ’s main projects are building new homes for people in the area, many of whom live in pallet shacks. The houses aren’t for everyone, they’re reserved for families with children.

“We have two granddaughters who are always with us,”said Francisco Martinez,whose house is under construction.

The recipients don’t have to pay for the house, but SPJ says each one costs them $6,000 to build, costs they cover solely through donations. Each one is built according to the family’s size; houses have held anywhere from three to sixteen people, all from the same family and all appropriately spacious.

SPJ says the money they raise stays in the community.

“It’s the people from right here, from the colonia itself, who we hire to build the house,” Estrada said.

But the organization has built more than just houses. They just finished an indoor market, where the community can go sell their goods and create their own jobs. A library is also being developed, the librarian having a house built for her right next to the building.

But this might not last.

“We need help. We need people to help us so we can keep helping those who live here,” said Estrada.

The organization says funds will run out at the end of May. After that they won’t be able to hire builders or pay caretakers who help develop projects like the indoor market. Their helps is how some residents have started to make a living.

“It’s gone well for me, with what they’ve given me my family and I live well,” said Ausencio Hernandez, whose house was built with an adjoining corner store.

Siguiendo los Pasos de Jesus is currently running a fundraiser, hoping to make enough money to last through the summer.

If you would like to help them, they are accepting donations through their PayPal account. You can donate by following this link.



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