Under Tents, an international campaign for housing rights in Haiti, released a housing brief this week highlighting the facts on the country’s internally-displaced persons (IDPs). Thirty-three months after the earthquake, over 369 000 Haitians are estimated to be living in tent camps. Designed as temporary housing for the 1.5 million people left homeless following the earthquake, almost no progress has been made towards transitioning residents of displacement camps into permanent housing. Of the US government’s $988 million contribution to post-earthquake recovery efforts, only 10% has been spent on housing, with almost none of this percentage supporting permanent housing options.
Under Tents explains how housing issues are multiplied by the Haitian government’s Relocation Plan 16-6, which forcefully evicts families from tent camps, offering them only $500 USD per family for alternative housing. Illegal forced evictions are also occurring, adding to the vulnerability of IDPs. With few safe housing options available, families have been forced to take shelter in damaged and unsafe housing units. Others, like those inhabiting Canaan, north of Port au Prince, have been forced to settle on unsafe hillsides. In short, displaced families remain as insecure today as they were when the earthquake struck.
This week, Haitian leader in the current housing movement, Reyneld Sanon, will be in Washington DC to push for change from US policy-makers. Sanon is associated with the Under Tents campaign and is a founding member of FRAKKA (Force for Reflection and Action on Housing).
Under Tents US policy recommendations:
- Discontinuing construction of temporary shelters to focus resources on permanent housing solutions.
- Assist the Haitian government to create a Ministry of Housing to stop forced evictions until a social housing plan is determined.
- USAID allocate a portion of existing committed reconstruction funds for consultation with civil society members engaged in housing efforts.
- To address issues associated with the 16-6 plan, Under Tents recommends US policy change to ensure all cash given for resettlement from camps is tied to comprehensive assistance programs to provide durable housing solutions.
- Encourage the Haitian government to finance necessary infrastructure and services to Canaan
- Assist the Haitian government in creating programs that offer reduced loans for housing repairs or construction for individuals without stable income sources.
- The US work with the Haitian government to measure, monitor, and make public housing project outcomes funded by the US government to increase transparency.
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