World Housing Turns 4

An Update From World Housing

Written by Sam White on October 6, 2017

World Housing turns four years old!

As we celebrate our birthday we wanted to take a moment to look back on the road that took us here and give you an update about what we’re working on and where we’re headed next.

We’ve been incredibly busy. This year we introduced the Agents of Change program in partnership with Pacific Sotheby’s Realty in San Diego, enabling hundreds of realtors to donate every time a home is sold. In March, we traveled to Cambodia to gift The Divine Community, the pinnacle of our work in Cambodia. Over the summer we expanded our homebuilding to Haiti, Colombia, and Mexico, where we officially gifted our 550th home!

Our New 100% Promise

This year we decided to launch the 100% Model, a program that enables us to guarantee to our donors that 100% of every dollar donated goes to building homes. We’re able to make this promise thanks to a group of private impact investors (we call them “Builders”) who share our vision and are kind enough to directly contribute to the operating costs of the organization on an annual basis.

The Transformation of Steung Meanchey

In March, the World Housing team traveled to Cambodia to celebrate the opening of The Divine Community and the transformation of the Steung Meanchey slum with Cambodian Children’s Fund, our local home building partner. When we met Scott Neeson (Founder of Cambodia Children’s Fund) four years ago, he inspired us to join his vision for Steung Meanchey, explaining the need for housing as the final piece of the puzzle to create real impact in the community. This partnership was a perfect fit from day one and together we have gifted 461 homes to families in need, housing more than 2,500 people.

The transformation of Steung Meanchey could not have been possible without the support of Ian Gillespie and Westbank’s Vancouver House, the world’s first one for one condominium high rise. Thanks to Ian’s commitment, 375 homes were funded, built and gifted to families over the past 3 years. See every Westbank World Housing home on Google Maps here.

Expanding Our Impact


This summer we broke ground in the Western Hemisphere for the first time, opening projects in Tijuana Mexico, Laborderie Haiti and Bogotá Colombia.

Tijuana, Mexico
See all of our homes in Mexico on Google Maps here.

Our most recent expansion into Tijuana, Mexico was driven through our partnership with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. With the launch of The Agents of Change program in San Diego, we’re on a mission to turn every Sotheby’s realtor into an Agent of Change, enabling them to donate to World Housing after every home sold.

This partnership not only enables agents to contribute financially but gives them the opportunity to visit the community to help build the homes. From painting to framing and swinging hammers, The Agents of Change are involved in every aspect of the build. We believe that this approach to home building bridges the divide between the recipient and the donor while providing a meaningful experience the realtor can share with family, friends and clients.

Agents of Change

We are excited to announce that to date more than 300 Pacific Sotheby’s Agents have signed up to join the program and have raised just over $100,000 of the $150,000 goal set.

Labodrie, Haiti
See our first home in Labodrie, Haiti on Google Maps here.

In 2010, Haiti was struck with one of the most devastating earthquakes the world has seen. It is estimated that 300,000 residences were destroyed and that more than 3 million were directly impacted. As a result of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, families were forced to live in tent communities designed to last 6 months. 7 years later, families continue to live in these shelters exposed to unimaginable conditions facing challenges like lack of nutrition, clean water, violence, exposure to diseases, and storms such as hurricane Matthew.

In Haiti we are proud to partner with New Story Charity, an organization that has a proven impact in the region. New Story has built strong relationships with the local government and builders allowing them to build more than 500 homes to date. Our work in Haiti has only just begun but we are excited about the opportunity that lies ahead!

Bogota, Colombia
See all of our homes in Colombia on Google Maps here.

With more than 27% of Bogota’s population living below the poverty line, millions are forced to live along the city outskirts on hillside slums. The southern district of Bogota known as Ciudad Bolivar, holds 9% of Bogota’s population (700,000 people) and is home to the city’s highest density of poverty.

Our building partner in Colombia is TECHO, a non-profit organization that has built more than 100,000 homes in Latin America. With a proven track record of building homes for deserving families our partnership was a natural fit.

Ciudad Bolivar

Earlier this year we travelled to Bogota to assist more than 200 TECHO volunteers with our first community build in Colombia. We are proud to announce we have built 15 homes, housing more than 75 people living in the Ciudad Bolivar district.

Business Partnerships

Virani Real Estate Advisors

Karim Virani, Founder of Virani Real Estate Advisors, has been in the business of selling homes in Vancouver since 1988. Continually ranking in the top 100 real estate agents in Canada, Karim’s dedication to finding people their dream home is unwavering.

“We are in a privileged position where we can help, and we have a moral calling where we should help people who are less fortunate.” – Karim Virani

Inspired to create lasting change, Karim and his company committed to contributing to World Housing following the sale of every home. In 2016 we built Virani Village, a neighbourhood of homes within The Divine Community in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Bosa Development, Pacific Gate
See every Bosa World Housing home on Google Maps here.

On December 7th, 2017 we will gift the final 18 homes of the 64 home community in Manila thanks to the incredible support of Bosa Development’s Pacific Gate project in San Diego. Every home sold at Pacific Gate triggered a donation from Bosa Development to World Housing to build a thriving community of over 300 people in Manila, Philippines.



World Housing would not be in our current position without the immense amount of support from our network. We are proud to introduce two individuals committed to spreading our message and raising communities of like minded people. We’ve named them our Ambassadors; and with them, we’re building more than homes, we’re building a movement.

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan Profile

Meet Chris Ryan, a local realtor with a global perspective. Chris was able to join us on our most recent gifting trip to Cambodia where he saw our impact first hand. Chris was inspired to gather his network together for an evening boat cruise around Vancouver’s English Bay. We used this unique opportunity to help spread our message while informing Chris’s network on the various ways to get involved. In a single evening, Chris and his network were able to fund the construction of our first home in Laboderie, Haiti housing a deserving family of 5. We are already looking forward to what Chris and his network will accomplish next.

Richard Bell
Founder, Bell Alliance


Richard Bell, founder of Bell Alliance, approached us a year ago with the vision of inviting his network to donate to support the funding of a community in Colombia, a country that deeply resonates with Richard. Together we created The NexGen Forward Giving Group, and Richard invited a handful people who were committed to creating social change. A year later they had funded their first community, building our first 15 homes in Bogota, Colombia. To see the NexGen Forward community on Google Maps, click here.

Special thanks to Stewart Hayashi, Michelle Yu, Dan Iosch and Connie Fenyo for your incredible support.

Giving Partnerships

We recently partnered with New Story and Journey, two inspiring organizations that share our mission of providing homes to the world’s most impoverished people.

New Story

Based in San Francisco, New Story Charity was established to create a world where no human being lives in survival mode. New Story provides homes and builds communities providing families with shelter, sanitation, clean water and power. “When basic needs are met, families transition out of survival mode and can begin focusing on their new story”. Sound familiar? We’ve partnered with New Story because they share our vision of a Home For Everyone, and are extremely effective at building communities. Through the use of Impact Data, New Story has begun to collect data on families before and after they move into their new home. New Story is able to study the quantifiable impact of a home on the metrics of education, well-being, income and community building allowing them to measure the true impact of a home. Committed to the continual improvement of their builds and the amplification of beneficiaries voice, New Story is revolutionizing the home building process. Our partnership with New Story will allow us the opportunity to exchange knowledge and resources; so together we can build thriving communities.



The best way to see the impact a home can have on a family in need is to experience a community opening celebration and home gifting ceremony. Every year we host an annual gift trip inviting our donors, friends and network to share the amazing experience of home giving. Wondering how we we could host more trips while still remaining focused on expanding our impact, the stars aligned and we were introduced to Journey, a travel company with purpose. They blend a mixture of sustainable impact work with destination travel and we couldn’t be more excited to announce that they soon will be partnering with us to lead a new style of gifting trip.

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 2.32.00 PM

The Future

Our home building efforts continue to be focused on Mexico, Colombia and Haiti moving forward.

We will be expanding our Agents of Change program with Sotheby’s International Realty to thousands of agents starting early 2018 in partnership with New Story.

By partnering with Journey, we will now be able to give donors the experience of visiting the homes we build, giving them the opportunity to connect with the people, places and communities that they’ve worked so hard to fundraise for.

To help shed light on the incredible experience of a community opening celebration is a short message from Austin Divine. Austin attended the gifting ceremony on behalf of his late grandfather Hal Divine, a friend and mentor to Pete and Sid and an original founder of World Housing.

The future is bright. Through our business partnerships and individual donors our goal is to build 2,000 homes and house 10,000 people by 2020. Thank you to our donors, builders, ambassadors and business partners who have helped to get where we are today. We look forward to building more homes, housing more people and creating more sustainable social change!

In loving memory of Hal Divine. A friend, mentor and founder of World Housing.