The earthquake displaced nearly one quarter of Haiti’s population, but innovative American Red Cross programs are helping families transition into safer homes.
After the earthquake destroyed Charite Estima’s home, she ended up in the Tapis Rouge camp in Port-au-Prince, where she shared a tent with her son and three grandchildren. Now it’s time to start packing. Charite’s son found a house to rent, thanks to a relocation stipend from the Red Cross. “We are moving out on Friday; I am happy to be leaving,” she said.
The earthquake’s impact on Haiti—destroying or damaging almost 190,000 homes—has made rebuilding neighborhoods a long process, hindered by hundreds of millions of cubic feet of rubble, unclear land ownership, a lack of enforceable building codes and other challenges.
The Red Cross has spent or committed $144 million for housing and neighborhood recovery over the past four years, ensuring that 108,900 people have a safer place to live. The Red Cross funded the construction and repair of homes and the upgrading of transitional shelter to permanent housing for tens of thousands of people.
In cooperation with the government of Haiti, the Red Cross is contributing to a large relocation effort, helping more than 5,400 families (approximately 27,000 individuals) in Port-au-Prince move out of transitional camps and into long-term housing.
The Red Cross is subsidizing rents and supporting economic revival by distributing grants to help people reestablish small businesses and receive job training. Another program provides funds to help rehabilitate houses on the condition that the owners provide free or reduced room rentals to a family still living in a transitional camp.
About 90 percent of those initially displaced by the earthquake have moved back into communities, but an estimated 172,000 individuals remain in camps, where the Red Cross continues to support improved basic health, hygiene and safety.
Thirty-four percent of Red Cross spending since the earthquake has been devoted to shelter and neighborhood recovery.