News Articles

Volunteers are building homes in Chula Vista for Tijuana’s poorest residents

Project Mercy Baja has been building homes in Tijuana since the early 1990s.

San Diego Union Tribune
APRIL 24, 2021

Chula Vista’s Otay Ranch is home to the most homebuilding in the region, but a project Saturday saw a batch of homes constructed there shipped across the border.

Project Mercy Baja, a roughly 30-year-old nonprofit, led a group of around 85 volunteers in building six homes to be sent to parts of eastern Tijuana where some of its poorest residents live.

The nonprofit has built more than 1,600 homes in Tijuana since forming in 1991. The small wooden houses — typically around 360 square feet — go to families that live in ramshackle housing made of spare parts and usually lacking roofs. The new homes only take about a day to construct.

“They get a solid roof, a front door,” said Project Mercy founder Paula Claussen. “You can’t explain the feeling of joy from people just getting these basic necessities.”

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PBS Profile of Paula Claussen of Project Mercy

September 23, 2016 – PBS Washington DC, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

Correspondent Lucky Severson reports on Paula Claussen of San Diego, who decided to build houses for the poorest families in nearby Tijuana.

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Paula Claussen named CNN Hero

June 10, 2016 – Twenty-five years ago, Paula Claussen’s friend invited her to make the short trip from her home in San Diego, California, across the border to Tijuana, Mexico, to donate clothing to people in need. Claussen didn’t expect that day to change the course of her life.

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Escaya and Project Mercy Team Up to Give Back

January 2, 2020 – On November 9th, Project Mercy and a group from Klemmer & Associates called “Heart of the Samurai” came out to Escaya and constructed wall panels that will be used to build six houses south of the Otay Mesa border!

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Local Organization to Build House for Poor Family in Tijuana

May 11, 2019 – The San Diego-based International Relief Teams will leave for Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday to build a home for an impoverished family living in a makeshift shelter in an informal settlement area. IRT volunteers are traveling to Colonia Fuentes del Valle with members of Project Mercy to assist the family.

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Project Mercy eChievement award from

2018 – Project Mercy builds basic but sturdy houses for the poorest families in the outlying neighborhoods, or “colonias” of Tijuana, Mexico.

Read full eTown article