Monday, October 5, 2009

THE GENESIS OF THE TFCH, INDIA - Its functioning and housing procedure

On September 14, 2007, five volunteers committed themselves to the cause of eradicating poverty housing, the well-known humanitarian mission of the Fuller Center for Housing, USA. They pledged their time, talent and treasure, and formed the Trivandrum Fuller Center for Housing, the first Covenant Partner in India. The Center is now being managed by a Board comprising eight directors. The chairman of the Board is Adv T H Lawrence who has worked for Habitat for Humanity International, which was also founded by the late Millard Fuller. The other directors of the Board are Fr Mathew Thundathil (Vice Chairman), Mr K Johnson (Secretary), Mr B Beddyson (Joint Secretary), Mr Abraham Mathew (Treasurer), Ms Elsamma Jacob, Mr N Vijayan and Sr Erasma.

Mr B Beddyson, Fr Mathew Thundathil, Adv T H Lawrence, Mr K Johnson, Mr Abraham Mathew

A meeting of the TFCH Board

 Adv T H Lawrence (Chairman)

Fr Mathew Thundathil OCD (Vice Chairman)

Mr C K Alexander (Secretary)

Sr Josmin DM (Joint Secretary)

Mr Abraham Mathew (Treasurer)

Mr K Johnson (Founder Member)

Mr N Vijayan (Member)


In order to be eligible for an interest-free loan from the Trivandrum Fuller Center for Housing, the beneficiary family should

1. be homeless or be living in an inadequate/rented/substandard house or housing environment.
2. be in need of urgent repair or renovation of their existing old, but modest house or constructing a new simple house of normal size.
3.  own at least two cents of land capable of holding a house of 500 square feet area as per government rules and regulations. 
4.  earn a regular family income between Rs.10,000/- and Rs.15,000/- per month. 
5.  possess a monthly repayment potential of at least Rs. 2,500/- to Rs. 3,500/-.
6.  have no existing debts or other financial liabilities.
7.  be willing to render sweat equity for self and others.
8.  be inclined to adopt eco-friendly low-cost housing technology.
9.  be ready to partner with the Fuller Center for its sustenance. prepared to comply with all legal requirements as required.
11.deposit the title deed etc in the Fuller Center until the entire loan is fully repaid over the mortgage period allowed.
12.execute their consent to comply with all the conditions and requirements of the Center on a stamped paper of appropriate value. able to complete the house construction within 3 to 4 months. able to carry out the repair/renovation work within 2 months. acceptable to the stage-wise disbursement of the loan amount sanctioned.
16.submit all vouchers/bills relating to the utilization of the loan amount. 
17.undertake to make uninterrupted repayment of the interest-free loan every month.
18.propagate among others the non-profit nature of the Fuller Center and the benefit. 
19.ensure their full cooperation with and commitment to the Fuller Center after the benefit is received and
20.act as a spokesperson for the promotion of the Fuller Center’s unique, noble  and charitable mission.

1. Design and Estimate
A simple, decent, durable and affordable house designed, approved and constructed by the Fuller Center for Housing will have a plinth area 500 SFT with a hall, two bedrooms and a kitchen. The toilet may be attached or isolated. The total cost of this modest house is estimated at Rs.3,00,000/-.

2. Quantum of Loan

An interest-free loan not exceeding Rs.2,00,000/- (Rupees two lakh only) may be provided to the beneficiary in installments commensurate with the cost of construction or renovation or repair at each stage. The remaining amount should be met by the beneficiary through their own sweat/cash/kind. (An amount of loan not exceeding Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh only) may also be provided for the purpose of repairing or renovating an existing old, weak and modest house as well as for completing an unfinished simple house, if the need is found to be genuine and urgent, and if the position of funds permits.

3. Repayment of Loan

The interest-free loan received by the beneficiary must be repaid in easy monthly installments of Rs.2500/- to Rs.3500/- over a period of time not exceeding 60 months depending upon the financial capacity of the beneficiary. The repayment will commence from the month in which the house is dedicated, but in any case not later than four months from the date of receipt of the first installment.

4. Recycling of Repayment

The amount remitted by the beneficiaries as repayment will be used for building more and more similar houses on an ongoing basis. This process will continue until poverty housing is completely eradicated. Since any default in repayment will adversely affect the mission and vision of the Fuller Center, beneficiaries are obligated to comply with the conditions of loan in both letter and spirit by all means and at all times.

Phase – 

An Education Meeting may be held with the help of any religious institution or social organization willing to offer its premises. People of the Low Income Group (LIG) such as masons, carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians, drivers, skilled workers, domestic helpers, small scale traders and last grade casual employees who do not have their own houses or who are living in inadequate/substandard housing environment may be convened through the above linkage. Any one regardless of caste, community, religion or gender may attend. The participants will be made aware of the philosophy of the Fuller Center for Housing with due stress on its non-profit nature as well as the criteria of eligibility.  Those who think they are prima facie eligible will be required to submit their requests, on a plain sheet of paper, indicating details like name, address, present housing condition, extent of land owned, quantum of loan required, repayment amount possible etc.  

Phase  II

A Primary Information Report based on the plain-paper applications will be made available after an on-the-spot verification by the Center. After scrutiny of the reports, the applicants found suitable will be interviewed and their need ascertained. They will also be required to fill in and sign the formal applications supplied by the Center. 

Phase  III 
The formal applications will be prioritized and presented for the Board’s Approval at its next sitting. The Board may select the applicant families for the housing assistance to be provided by the Center.
Phase – IV 
When adequate funds are available, the selected applicants, as prioritized, will be advised to submit all necessary documents like title deed, non-encumbrance certificate, tax receipt, building permit etc for legal opinion. If the legal opinion is favourable, the applicants will be required to deposit the documents as undertaken in the Agreement executed on a stamp paper.

Phase – V 

As soon as the legal formalities, including the lawyer's report, are completed, the applicants will be advised to erect the foundation as per the approved house design. The progress of the work will be monitored and a Stage-wise Report will be prepared by the Center.

Phase – VI 

The Center will disburse (only by crossed cheques) the loan sanctioned to the beneficiaries in installments commensurate with the estimated cost of stage-wise construction. The vouchers/bills with a statement relating to the utilization of the entire loan amount are required to be furnished by the homeowners before the dedication of the house.   

Phase – VII

The homeowners will ensure completion of construction within the period of time as stipulated by the Center and as undertaken by them. Under no ordinary circumstances should the construction be delayed. The Center will be keeping a constant vigil on the progress of the work.

Phase – VIII 

Soon after the construction is complete, a date convenient to the Center as well as to the homeowner family is slated for the dedication of the house. The Board will take part in the function, as far as possible in full number, along with the staff. The homeowner will make the first repayment and will receive the official receipt and a passbook on the day of Dedication. Photographs taken on the occasion will be sent to the Fuller Center for Housing, USA and uploaded to the blog (

Phase – IX 

The office will telephonically contact the homeowners between the 20th and 25th of every month and remind them of making repayments before at least two working days of the bank without fail. Every homeowner will be encouraged and exhorted to update their repayments for the sake of those needy homeless brethren who are in the queue.

Phase – X 

A meeting of the homeowners is also conducted at least once in two years so that they are able to express their opinion about our activities and the problems, if any, they might be facing in remitting/receipting repayment. Usually a high tea will be served and a small memento will be presented to them during such interactive get-togethers.

  • Letter of Introduction/Assurance - Original (From a Parish Priest/Pastor, a Convent Superior/Sister or a respectable person known to the Center)
  • Prior Title Deed - Original or Attested copy
  • Own Title Deed - Original  (mandatory) and a copy
  • Current Land Tax Receipt - Original or Attested copy (From the Village Office)
  • Possession Certificate - Original (From the Village Office)
  • Location Certificate - Original (From the Village Office)
  • Current 'No Encumbrance' Certificate - Original or Attested copy (For a consecutive period of at least 13 years from the Sub Registrar's Office)
  • Building Plan and Permit - Attested copy (From the Local Administration) 
  • Identity Proof - Attested copy of Ration/Election Card
  • Agreement/Undertaking - Original (To be executed by the homeowner/s on a stamp paper of appropriate value)
  • Photographs of Homeowner/s - Three (Stamp/Passport size)
  • Revenue Stamps - Five (For stamped receipts of the loan disbursed)
NOTE: Documents are to be obtained for submission to the Trivandrum Fuller Center of Housing.


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