- Families served in 2016: 1000
- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 1984
- Families served: More than 58,875
- Volunteers hosted: 1,160
- Housing solutions: Revitalization of informal neighborhoods; repair, retrofit, reconstruction of damaged homes; public infrastructure improvements; training and technical assistance; land tenure advocacy; market development initiatives.
Habitat for Humanity in Haiti
Habitat for Humanity Haiti is dedicated to helping low-income families gain access to decent housing and accompanying them along their pathways to permanent housing. Habitat has served more than 58,875 families in Haiti, many of them through the 2010 earthquake recovery program. For more information, go to habitathaiti.org or facebook.com/habitathaiti
The housing need in Haiti
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 58.5% of the population living on less than US$2.42 per day. Political instability, food shortages, unemployment, natural disasters and a lack of basic infrastructure have kept most Haitians locked in a cycle of poverty for generations. Access to housing is equally desperate. Before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti already faced a severe shortage of houses.
The earthquake damaged nearly 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. Of the more than 2 million affected survivors, more than 1.5 million were homeless. Today, land tenure remains the biggest roadblock to rebuilding in Haiti.
Habitat’s contribution in Haiti
To meet housing needs following the 2010 earthquake, Habitat adopted an innovative strategy – Pathways to Permanence – centered on holistic,community-led, sustainable urban development, and developed programs to address land rights and housing finance.
Simon-Pelé is a densely populated informal set of five communities of approximately 30,000 residents north of downtown Port-au-Prince. The area is characterized by low- quality, self-built housing, inadequate public infrastructure, high unemployment and violence. Despite the challenges there are strengths, including strong social ties, human capital, a vibrant commercial main street and de facto security of tenure. Habitat is working with the community through repairs, retrofits and reconstruction of damaged or unsafe homes; vocational training; and capacity building of local leaders. The next phase in supporting the Community Council will be to improve drainage, water, sanitation and resident hygiene practices.
Vil-Ka-Bel (‘A City Can Be Beautiful’)
In 2010, an area of land extending north from Port-au-Prince was declared “public utility” by eminent domain. Since then, the site has rapidly and organically transformed into Haiti’s fourth-largest city, with over 32,000 new households. This urbanization has taken place outside of any formalized planning, technical assistance or joint decisionmaking with authorities. Habitat’s work in Vil-Ka-Bel (also called Canaan) includes neighborhood development projects, institutional and technical assistance programs, strategic communications support, and various community-based services.
Home ownership and mortgage expansion
Habitat’s Home Ownership and Mortgage Expansion program, established in July 2015, seeks to increase access to long-term financing to help low and moderate income Haitian households construct, rehabilitate or purchase safe, durable, affordable housing. The program works with financial institutions and housing developers to develop financial incentives, technical assistance and awareness-building mechanisms to reduce the housing deficit in Haiti.
Meet a Habitat family
Elmire Normil is the mother of three children: Eliannestar (19), Santiana (13), and Ernica (2). Their home in Simon-Pelé, a densely populated neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, was severely damaged by the 2010 earthquake. With no other options available, the family had to live for more than three years in a nearby camp where life was difficult and unsafe. Recently, Elmire and her children moved back into their home after Habitat retrofitted it as part of its community action plan. “After the earthquake, all of the walls of my house were damaged,” Elmire says. “Now, Habitat has rebuilt the house with good material, resulting in a strong house.” The sense of security provided by their retrofitted home gives them great comfort and peace. “Me and my children feel secure in our home,” Elmire shares. “I no longer worry about thieves and bad weather, like hurricanes.”
What you can do
You can help needy Haitian families who live in unhealthy, unsafe and overcrowded camps and communities by taking one or more of the following actions:
Volunteer: Join a Global Village volunteer trip to Haiti or organize your own brigade.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity in Haiti, please contact us: