There’s a strong correlation between housing and economic mobility and the role adequate shelter plays in ending the cycle of poverty. Several studies have shown that having a safe space to come home to can improve health and safety while increasing educational and economic opportunities for people living in communities without access to basic amenities like shelter and safe drinking water. 

How is it that something so seemingly simple — and often something we take for granted — can make such a big impact? The reason is that adequate, safe shelter provides more than just a roof over your head. When a family or community has a home, their opportunity for upward mobility greatly increases, along with their ability to break the cycle of poverty. Adequate shelter provides families with the space they need to run a business and generate income from their home. It gives children an environment that’s conducive to studying and learning. It allows for a clean space to care for ill or aging family members. It provides safety from the elements, as well as from the violence many of these global communities face. The list goes on.

In our experience, housing and economic mobility go hand in hand towards breaking the cycle of poverty.

How do we know this? The evidence is in the impact data we’ve collected from our communities, and for one town in particular, the outcome has been eye-opening. The municipality of Ahuachapán in El Salvador has shown significant improvements in economic mobility and improved quality of life for its people as a result of the homes New Story built through our gracious donors. Additionally, the community has shown improved sanitation and environmental impact, overall quality of life improvements, and a heightened sense of community. 

Visible impact in Ahuachapán Community #2

In August of 2019, 55 families moved into Ahuachapán 2. In just a few months, the changes and impact are already evident — and they’re nothing short of astounding. So far, our impact data has demonstrated improvements in the following areas:

  • Economic: One family is generating net new income after setting up a bakery business inside their home. 
  • Education: The community president, also a Tae-Kwan-Do certified coach, is starting a program to train the kids in the community.
  • Environment: Families are planting trees around their homes and they’ve even started a recycling collection for the community.
  • Community: For the holidays, one family built a nativity scene for all the kids in the community to celebrate together. In addition, an artist who lives nearby painted a mural for this new community. Parents then wrote their wishes for their families within the mural.
  • Safety: The roads are graveled and cleaned, and all retaining walls are securely in place.

What is impact data?

As an impact-driven nonprofit, we believe in the power of data to drive changes like those we’ve seen in Ahuachapán, El Salvador. Our impact data program, which we’re expanding in 2020, helps us learn from our beneficiaries about the long-term impacts of a home and uncovers new methods to improve and iterate our model.

Though these stories from Ahuachapán 2 represent qualitative data based on checking in personally with families, we also measure quantitative impact. This can include household income, hours of sleep, number of health problems, and other significant impact statistics. We’ve even created an Impact Survey App to collect data from families using a short 30-minute survey before and after they’ve moved into a New Story home.

This data is used to learn about each family’s experience and determine what they need or how we can better serve other communities in the future. Our goal is to build the foundation for greater opportunity that compounds as a result of having homes, and it’s extremely rewarding to see it happening in the new community of Ahuachapán in just a few short months.


Interested in learning more about how donations drive innovation, address the cycle of poverty, and help us build successful communities like Ahuachapán 2? Here’s how we’re making an impact, and what you can do to help.