Housing Poverty In Haiti

  • 6,560 people served in FY18 6,560 people served in FY18
  • 50 volunteers hosted in FY18 50 volunteers hosted in FY18
  • Projects: reconstruction, emergency shelter, slum upgrades, land rights Projects: reconstruction, emergency shelter, slum upgrades, land rights

We are dedicated to tackling housing poverty in Haiti by helping low-income families gain access to decent housing and accompanying them along their pathways to permanent housing.

We have served more than 57,000 families in Haiti, many of them through the 2010 earthquake recovery programme.

Poverty In Haiti

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. According to the World Bank, more than half of its population lives in poverty, and approximately 24% is in extreme poverty. Political instability, food shortages, unemployment, a lack of basic infrastructure, and disasters have kept most Haitians trapped in a cycle of poverty for generations.

In the last decade, the need for housing has increased dramatically every year. The 2010 earthquake destroyed the homes of 1.5 million people. In 2016, another 140,000 were left without shelter after Hurricane Matthew hit. More recently, in August 2021, an earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 130,000 homes.

Homelessness And Land Ownership

Access to housing is equally desperate. Before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti already faced a severe shortage of houses. The earthquake damaged 190,000 houses, and 105,000 more were destroyed, adding to the pre-existing backlog of 300,000 houses required to meet the growing shelter needs of the country.

Major barriers to land tenure in Haiti include a lack of official land documentation, low exchange value of lands, and a lack of an efficient land information system. In early 2019, Habitat Haiti launched a program in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development to help households in three municipalities prove tenure security and increase the number of parcels registered in the land administration systems.

Support Projects In Haiti

Our work tackling poverty in Haiti encompasses new home construction, community rebuilding (including retrofits, training and capacity building) and land reform advocacy.

By supporting our work, you can help us to grow our impact in Haiti:

Partner with us to build more safe homes

Make a donation towards our work

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New Home Construction

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Before the 2010 earthquake, we had constructed more than 2,000 permanent homes in the towns of Cabaret, Hinche and Flammands. As part of our long term earthquake recovery programme, we built an additional 300 more homes in the Santo community of Léogâne. In addition to that:

In 2011, 100 houses were built by volunteers as part of the 28th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. 55 more houses were built by volunteers from Haven, an Irish NGO, that partnered with us. In 2012, our 29th Carter Work Project returned to build an additional 100 homes in Santo. We also constructed 1,500 upgradeable shelters that can be turned into permanent housing.

Post-Earthquake Recovery: Rebuilding Communities

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In 2010, we launched our multi-year community action plan for Simon-Pelé, a densely populated urban neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, to help families improve their living conditions and gain access to critical services.

The plan includes the implementation of infrastructure programs, such as:

- Building and repairing roads
- Removing rubble
- Adding street lighting
- Installing water points for clean water and drainage
- Retrofitting more than 650 homes (a structural retrofit improves the original house by strengthening it against future natural disasters)
- Training 5,000 residents in vocational skills: basic and advanced construction, financial literacy, disaster-risk reduction, basic home maintenance, conflict management and gender equality
- Training for the local community councils

In 2014, we also launched the multi-year Canaan project to assist more than 30,000 families in need of decent, affordable, safe housing and sustainable neighbourhoods. Support will include:

- Technical assistance and training to define a communitywide development plan
- Identify and prioritise community needs;
- Help families meet international building standards as they build or upgrade their homes.

Our local team will also advocate for the formal recognition of this new settlement and for land tenure so that families will have a secure foundation on which to rebuild their lives.

Advocacy: Reforming Land Rights

In 2011, we created the Haiti Property Law Working Group, which continues to develop and implement goals, objectives and priorities to help Haiti deal with long-standing land tenure issues — an essential step in helping people gain access to housing.