Haiti: Housing challenges persist, World Vision responds

World Vision has helped transition more than 14,000 Haitians into improved shelters.

By Chris Huber, World Vision U.S.
Published January 10, 2013 at 12:00am PST

For two and a half years, Veneze Jean Marie and her family lived in Camp Izole, a makeshift camp in the Western Hemisphere’s largest slum, Cite Soleil in Haiti.

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake ravaged Haiti. Veneze and her husband, Emmanuel, lost everything, including his business.

‘Life is not good’

Veneze and Emmanuel struggled to find work and any sign of hope.

In the camp, the young couple gave birth to a daughter and spent their days in a cramped and sweltering tent. The family shared a single twin bed, and they sat on blankets on a cement floor.

“Life is not good for me at all,” Veneze says of her time in the camp.

At home in the tent with little Madiana, she was not able to work, and Emmanuel only found sporadic employment.

“If he finds something, we eat. If not, we spend the night like this,” Veneze adds.

An array of challenges

Of the 1.5 million people initially displaced, about 350,000 still live in temporary housing. Three years later, Haitians and the aid organizations helping them rebuild face an array of challenges. Lack of infrastructure and unclear governmental strategy hinder efforts to develop permanent housing solutions.

Issues with land rights have created substantial delays in rebuilding family homes. Effects of recent emergencies — like the cholera outbreak, hurricanes Isaac and Sandy, and the subsequent food shortage — have turned life into constant crisis mode for hundreds of thousands of survivors.

“We had a housing situation even before the earthquake,” says Luis Pereira, World Vision’s emergency response manager in Haiti. “The good thing is it’s been reduced, considering what it was three years ago.”

Building new shelters and hope

World Vision has helped more than 2.5 million people since the quake. We provided emergency shelter to more than 200,000 people in 49 camps.

T-shelters are built to withstand earthquakes and winds up to 100 mph and to last up to 10 years. (Photo: Guy Vital-Herne/World Vision)We closed our transitional housing program in October, after helping the remaining families move from camps the organization managed into improved housing situations, called t-shelters. World Vision erected 2,800 t-shelters — enough to house 14,600 people — built to withstand earthquakes and winds up to 100 mph, and last up to 10 years.

Each family that settled in a t-shelter signed a covenant with World Vision, promising to steward the house as its owner.

In addition, World Vision provided 11,000 people with funds to pay for rent or education and provided life-skills and business training.

Among the last to leave Camp Izole, Veneze and her family received training and transitional housing financial assistance. They are currently looking for a house of their own. She plans to start a small business. Her hope is building.

“I’d like to work hard and make good money to live well,” she says.

Learn more

Download the Haiti three-year progress report (pdf) for a look at our accomplishments in Haiti since the deadly January 12, 2010, earthquake, as well as the challenges we’ve faced, our financial records, and our goals for the year ahead.

How you can help

Pray for families in Haiti who continue to struggle three years after the earthquake. Pray that the ongoing rebuilding process would yield strong, safe communities where children can thrive.

Make a one-time donation to help provide food and care for Haiti. Your gift will multiply three times in impact to help deliver life-saving food, agricultural support, healthcare, and other necessities for hungry children and families in Haiti.

Sponsor a child in Haiti. As a sponsor, you will help provide a child with access to life-changing basics like nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, and education. Sponsorship also helps families and communities by providing job training, disaster preparedness, business coaching, small loans, and more.