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Help for Haiti's homeless

Haiti, December 29, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Fabiola Coupet/Mercy Corps  </span>
    After his house collapsed, Junior Moise was able to meet his displaced family's most urgent needs with a temporary job through Mercy Corps. Photo: Fabiola Coupet/Mercy Corps

After his house collapsed in the earthquake, Junior Moise, 30, had no better option than to move his wife and daughter to a tent camp near Frere Road in Port-au-Prince.

Unfortunately, Junior Moise’s situation is not unique. An estimated 1.3 million people still live in tent camps across Haiti’s capital. Lacking adequate housing, they are vulnerable to disease, crime and severe weather. Before the earthquake, 86 percent of metropolitan Port-au-Prince was living in slums. Post-earthquake, the situation is further complicated with land tenure issues, a housing shortage and enormous amounts of rubble.

Since shortly after the earthquake, Mercy Corps has provided clean water and proper sanitation to families in 25 Port-au-Prince camps. We also gave temporary jobs to 14,500 households, including Junior’s, to help families meet their immediate needs. “As someone who has a family, the money is very important and useful for me,” he says. “As long as I am working, then there is hope.”

We continue to work in coordination with the Haitian government and aid community to help families return to their old homes or find new ones.

Mercy Corps’ first priority in Haiti is economic development, because for the homeless, a steady income is the most sustainable way to shelter and provide for their families.

In the rural Central Plateau and the Artibonite region, we continue to aid earthquake survivors who left Port-au-Prince to live with family or friends. Here we are supporting the growth of a regional economy that can provide new opportunities to displaced survivors and give them the option to remain in their new homes. By helping people find ways to earn a living outside the city, we’re helping to reduce the pressure on weakened urban systems as the capital struggles to rebuild.