Date when Habitat started working in the country
Individuals served in FY18
Volunteers hosted in FY18
New, incremental, repairs
* 925 served through market development
Habitat for Humanity in Haiti
Habitat for Humanity Haiti is dedicated to helping low-income families gain access to decent housing, including improved access to water and sanitation, and accompanying them along their pathways to permanent housing. Habitat has served more than 60,000 families in Haiti, many of them through the 2010 earthquake recovery program and Hurricane Mathew response projects. 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 percent 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. Combined with Hurricane Matthew that directly hit the south department in 2016, the housing needs have dramatically increased. Insecure land tenure, lack of access to building materials, and a shortage of builders trained in disaster-resistant construction also remain large roadblocks 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. Since 2016, Habitat has played an active role in Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts. Habitat has increasingly become a recognized voice on housing and land tenure promotion in Haiti.
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 has worked with the community through repairs, retrofits and reconstruction of damaged or unsafe homes; vocational training; and capacity building of local leaders. Currently, we are working on a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project to improve drainage, water, sanitation and resident hygiene practices. Through this program, 14,110 individuals have been sensitized to proper hygiene practices and 157 latrines have been repaired. We are also addressing gender-based violence and economic opportunities for women and young people.
In March 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 representing an investment of more than US$100 million. This process of urbanization has taken place outside of any formalized planning, technical assistance or joint decision making with authorities. The evolution of this residential area has been led by the community and financed through speculative land transactions, remittances, personal savings and redirected subsidies. Habitat’s work in Vil-Ka-Bel (also called Canaan) includes neighborhood development projects, infrastructure support, and various community- based services. Additionally, Habitat has worked to address violence, particularly gender-based violence, and boost economic activities in Canaan through the installation of solar lamps. Habitat has also worked to improve urban planning by supporting the community and mayor’s office to provide street names and signage, which makes it easier to move around the city and improves residents’ self-esteem.
Hurricane Matthew recovery
Category-4 Hurricane Matthew violently struck southwestern Haiti on October 4, 2016 bringing heavy rainfall in the south, southeast and the northwest, creating the largest humanitarian emergency in the country since the 2010 earthquake. It caused considerable damage to the housing sector. To respond to the high housing need in Hurricane Mathew affected areas and to build community capacity in housing- related disaster prevention, we have created strategic partnerships with other reputable organizations, including Mercy Corps, OXFAM and CESVI, and IOM. Habitat recently established a liaison offce in Miragoane in le Nippes, one of the hardest hit areas, to ensure a closer presence and improve accountability. Through the response program, 1,250 severely damaged houses have been repaired and 180 new homes have been constructed. Four hundred and forty elderly beneficiaries were given shelter recovery kits in Nippes to repair their homes, which were destroyed.
In 2011, Habitat began to address the complex issues related to land tenure and ownership by founding the Haiti Property Law Working Group. This Haitian-led collection of legal and policy experts, donor agencies, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and representatives from the Haitian government includes more than 300 members. The group has published two manuals: the first clarifies the procedures for buying and selling land in Haiti, and the second explains the different tenure types that exist under Haitian law and details the rights and responsibilities of owners and tenants. The group has also sponsored the production of a third manual on customary and inheritance land practices in Haiti.
Meet a Habitat family
Adrienne, 56, is the mother of nine children and works tirelessly to help keep her and her family afloat. She makes a living manually breaking up rock to make construction gravel. When Hurricane Matthew came through her commune of Brossard in Nippes, it tore up homes, killed livestock and washed away crops. Unfortunately, Adrienne’s home, her food supplies and livestock were not spared. She was happy to have been alone at the time, as her nine children were currently in Port- au-Prince where they are pursuing their studies. Adrienne never went to school, but it hasn’t stopped her from being a resourceful woman with the will and determination to bounce back from tragedy and keep fighting. Adrienne recently received shelter recovery materials from Habitat to help rebuild her home. In addition, she also received the dedicated support of an engineer and construction crew, also provided by Habitat. Today she is back at work and happy to have a solid roof over her head, one she shares with her youngest grandchild Lucie, who lives with her until Lucie’s mom can complete her studies. She’s looking forward to having all her kids and grandkids back under her new roof.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity in Haiti, please contact us:
Resource Development Manager