Housing poverty in Lebanon

Causes & solutions: a complex reality
  • +4,500 families served +4,500 families served
  • +80 volunteers hosted +80 volunteers hosted
  • Projects: Slum rehabilitation, incremental building repairs Projects: Slum rehabilitation, incremental building repairs

Since 2001, we have reached across economic and social divisions to identify and confront the causes and effects of housing poverty in Lebanon.

Our local team strives to fulfill its mission by building, rebuilding, renovating and rehabilitating houses through partnership models to reach the families in need of housing services across Lebanon.

Civil war and damaged homes

From 1975 until the early 1990s, civil war in Lebanon destroyed not only lives, homes and infrastructure, but also its fragile society. An estimated 1 million people were displaced by fighting and hundreds of thousands were injured, killed or disappeared.

The damage to property alone was estimated at US$25 billion. Many more homes and lives were destroyed in the July–August 2006 war which also displaced one million people and damaged more than 100,000 houses.

Reconstruction, debt & refugees

Reconstruction from these wars left Lebanon heavily in debt, and continued political unrest has prevented its economy from recovering fully. Unemployment is around 20% and many jobs pay very low wages, despite the high cost of living, which traps families in a cycle of poverty. Rapid urbanisation due to displacement and economic deprivation has resulted in ghettos of poverty in Beirut and other cities.

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, neighbouring Lebanon has been suffering from a huge influx of Syrian refugees, with the numbers reaching about one million. This has put a huge strain on the housing industry and is expected to cause water shortages.

Dialogue and development

The “Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue” (FDCD) offers workshops, conferences, and dialogue sessions to enable society to approach conflicts…

The “Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue” (FDCD) offers workshops, conferences, and dialogue sessions to enable society to approach conflicts in a non-violent way.

In collaboration with them, we try to use housing as a vehicle for reconciliation and community building among the disparate sects of Lebanon’s Saida region, by providing loans to low-income families for home repairs, renovations and/or construction.

Together with Dialogue and Development, we have provided housing solutions while at the same time strengthening the social infrastructure of villages. Families were selected, without discrimination, on the basis of need for adequate shelter, ability to repay loans, and willingness to participate in the Habitat programme.

supporting elderly lebanon

How we help alleviate housing poverty in Lebanon

We address the housing need through our “Housing and Microfinance” and “Orphans and Vulnerable Groups” programmes. We are also currently studying the feasibility of a water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) response through providing hygiene kits, light solar lamps and water filters.

Key facts & figures

  • Population: 5.8 million
  • Urbanisation: 87%
  • Life expectancy: 77 years
  • Unemployment rate: 20%
  • Population living below poverty line: 28%

Housing microfinance

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In partnership with the Lebanese Association for Development (Al Majmoua), we offer microloans, specially designed for home improvement to people who would otherwise not have access to credit. Current homes are in desperate need of restoration: dark, damp and overcrowded, with a variety of specific repair needs.

We provide wholesale loans to Al Majmoua, while our team also provides construction-related technical assistance and monitors the housing micro loans disbursements which allow families to finally solve their long-standing housing problems (lack of toilets, access to water, damaged roofs, etc).

Financial literacy

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Habitat For Humanity Lebanon has started a series of trainings for homeowners or potential homeowners in financial literacy.

These trainings will not only help families to manage their personal finances and make their loan payments on time, but will also encourage them to plan for the future, helping vulnerable families to take steps towards self-sufficiency.

Repayments towards our zero-interest non-profit loans are essential so that we can keep helping more families. With financial literacy training, we kill two birds with one stone - effectively helping families manage their finances and become more independent in the long run.

Orphans & vulnerable families

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Our team works in partnership with local NGOs that focus on vulnerable families to find and address the most urgent housing problems throughout Lebanon.

The families in this programme are mostly headed by widows, single parents, have disabled members or suffer from financial and social burdens. Home repairs for these families include:
- Installing proper sanitation for kitchens and bathrooms
- Reinforcing unsafe structures through column installation,
- Waterproofing or replacing roofs.

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