The January 2010 earthquake dealt an immense blow to Haiti’s infrastructure, and an estimated 2.3 million people—approximately one quarter of the national population—were displaced, with 1.5 million forced to seek shelter in makeshift camps. The earthquake’s impact on Haiti’s social, political, economic and infrastructure base has complicated the rebuilding process.
Read our Improving Housing in Haiti factsheet >>
Families who live in secure housing are safer, healthier, and more resilient to future disasters. That’s why the American Red Cross helps people who were displaced by the earthquake to leave camps and pursue more permanent shelter solutions, while also providing options to accommodate the spectrum of interests and needs of the wider community. These options include retrofitting houses, repairing infrastructure such as schools, improving sanitation facilities and expanding local economic opportunities to engage community members in reconstruction efforts directly through training and work programs and to invest their own resources in their new homes and communities.
The American Red Cross has spent or committed to spend $173 million – or 35 percent of the total amount of received donations – on shelter in Haiti. These funds have helped more than 143,000 people through safe housing and neighborhood recovery— on top of the 860,000+ people who received emergency shelter from the global Red Cross network immediately after the earthquake. Our work continues today in helping to rebuild homes and neighborhoods.
When land upon which to build new homes was not readily available in places accessible to other services and livelihoods, given the huge numbers of people in camps, the Red Cross prioritized helping the most people possible to move out of camps to a safe home– even if it was a t-shelter – rather than putting all our eggs in one basket, only focused on building new houses for a much smaller number of people.
Working with partners like UNOPS, Habitat for Humanity and Handicap International, we built thousands of transitional shelters that can last 5 years or more. Rental subsidies helped thousands of Haitians leave camps and move into rented homes. We also helped and are still working with people to repair and strengthen their homes and in some cases, add space to allow someone from a camp to live in it rent-free for one year. We are continuing to repair schools, roadways, and water distribution points in neighborhoods. The American Red Cross has fulfilled our promise to make sure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes. Construction remains in progress today in housing and community construction.