Rescuing an elder from cold winter winds: Border Partners Improving Lives

Our gardening assistant Humberto poses proudly before the tightly sealed new home that staff constructed for Francisco, complete with floor, door and seal against the weather to trap and use solar heat.

Francisco exits his former blue-tarp covered “dwelling”–no door, no roof, no floor–unprotected from the harsh desert climate.

The bitter sting of cold weather is now returning to the Chihuahuan Desert. And, with its arrival, our Border Partners’ staffers were deeply concerned about Francisco, one of the seniors they assist with food. Homeless, he lived in a makeshift shed composed of only a few walls and a flapping tarp. It was open to the winter elements, had no roof and a dirt “floor.”

When the first snow dusted Palomas a week ago, our staff knew that they had to find Francisco a warmer place to sleep. Death by hypothermia could otherwise be his fate.

Using What They Had

Our team members in Palomas aren’t house builders. But, they’ve built many greenhouses in the last three years. With those skills–and some leftover materials from previous greenhouse constructions–they literally built Francisco a warm room. Unlike his former tarp-formed dwelling, the new construction has a door, a floor, a roof and is closed to the exterior. It changed his life–potentially saved his life–all for a budget of $65. 

Francisco’s new home harnesses the power of solar heat. Melissa Reyes, Border Partners’ General Manager, reports that “the clear plastic allows for the room to get heat during the day from the sun. And, during the night, that heat stays in.”

Francisco was incredibly grateful. And, the staff was also really happy. They felt relieved and satisfied to give this homeless man a warmer place to sleep at night.