Anita Duque, San Jose

… It changed 100% of our lives. Here I live quietly and safe, the houses are pretty and well built

44 families moved from their squat into a purpose-built compound providing each family with a three-bedroom, 60m2 house, with access to shared public space and a playground.

Until this time, these families lived in wooden huts right on the banks of the river Maipo, without water, electricity or insulation. In winter, temperatures fall below -5ºC with just a small stove for cooking and heating. The families lived in constant fear of being expelled from their homes.

One of the squatters, Anita Duque, organised a group of 45 families to form a cooperative and started all legal procedures to apply as a group to the subsidy by the Ministry of Housing. The government subsidy offered for this project was $25,000 per unit. These homes were part of the Project San Jose comprising of 44 units delivered by CHL SpA.

Anita, president of the cooperative, today lives with her son (14) and her daughter (21) in a house next to the entrance of the compound.

Each member of the family has their own room and they all enjoy the comfort of electricity, water and heating in winter. Like many of the families living here, Anita’s family has added their own touches to their home, laying tiles and painting the outside walls. Other community members have even started with extensions into the garden and the development of a car park.

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