Homes for hundreds going up outside Haiti capital

A religious charity said Friday it has started a housing project north of Haiti's capital that will ultimately provide low-cost shelter for about 2,500 people, many of them victims of last year's devastating earthquake.

The Mission of Hope project near the town of Cabaret will consist of 500 simple homes in bright pastel colors, each with a couple of fruit trees to provide food and a source of extra income to the families, said Jay Cherry, who is coordinating the project for the charity based in Fort Myers, Florida.

Haiti's government provided 120 acres for the project and Mission of Hope is raising the $3 million cost of construction through donations, Cherry said.

Residents will pay a small monthly rent that the charity plans to use to provide services to the community.

The project comes amid frustration over the slow pace of reconstruction from an earthquake that the Haitian government said killed more than 300,000 people and displaced about 2 million.

Haiti's reconstruction commission approved the housing project in September and it is scheduled to be completed in December 2012.