From emergency aid to reconstruction

Summary

Moving towards a more structured approach to housing, working and living

The last earthquake worsened the already precarious living conditions in Haiti’s Canapé Vert. After providing emergency aid, we are still working with the mayor’s office and residents of the Villa Rosa and Sainte Marie urban slums to improve housing and establish a community center, and all of it earthquake proof. And working with official bodies means they can apply it all elsewhere.

Goals

  • Economic development
  • A joint residents’ and government vision of what Canapé Vert and Villa Rosa should look like
  • A joint residents’ and government vision of what Canapé Vert and Villa Rosa should look like
  • Houses and an infrastructure that are resilient to earthquakes and hurricanes
  • Better legislation to give residents of Canapé Vert more security about their homes
  • The creation of community spirit and the construction of a community center
  • Residents have a say in what happens in their district
  • The affected authorities, companies, NGOs and residents all see the benefits of collaboration

Background

In January 2010 Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti, was struck by an earthquake, which killed thousands of people. The Island’s already fragile infrastructure was seriously affected and 1.5 million people lost their homes. Haiti can offer few services and facilities to its citizens so they had to do what they could for themselves. In the urban slums the residents were dependent on what they could achieve with the help of NGOs. They dug open toilets, captured rainwater and used cellphones instead of landlines. NGOs that are active in Haiti are primarily focused on emergency aid. In what can only be described as a chaotic setting, both energy and other commodities are being wasted, while the government, through a lack of means, capacity and power, is unable to take control. Together with our partners UNHABITAT and Architecture for Humanity, we have drawn up maps and action plans for the suburbs of Villa Rosa and Sainte Marie.

Initial situation

We drew up a draft plan at the start of the project and 106 earthquake-proof houses have been built for, and with the aid of, the people who needed them the most. With the participation of the official housing and public buildings departments, a survey to establish the required infrastructure in the suburb is currently underway.

We have worked out a plan for sustainable and affordable housing and it has been presented to some 50 interested parties. If funds can be secured from some of them, a permanent form of house financing can be set up, on the basis of this new plan.

Goals

We want to tackle the problems in Port au Prince’s Canapé Vert urban slum in a structural manner. To do this we are working with residents’ platforms and municipal bodies to improve both the local institutional setting and the infrastructure, particularly in the suburb of Villa Rosa, where many people live in homes with no proof of ownership. Based on Haitian law, rules are being made and innovative solutions conceived which allow us to meet the needs of the population and the government. The same approach can then be applied to solve similar problems in other suburbs of Port au Prince.

Goals

  • Economic development
  • A joint residents’ and government vision of what Canapé Vert and Villa Rosa should look like
  • A joint residents’ and government vision of what Canapé Vert and Villa Rosa should look like
  • Houses and an infrastructure that are resilient to earthquakes and hurricanes
  • Better legislation to give residents of Canapé Vert more security about their homes
  • The creation of community spirit and the construction of a community center
  • Residents have a say in what happens in their district
  • The affected authorities, companies, NGOs and residents all see the benefits of collaboration

Project plan

To improve conditions in the Canapé Vert urban slum we are bringing the relevant players together, drawing up joint action plans and providing our expertise.

Homes needed
The Kanapé Ve Leve Kanpe (KVLK), Revitalizing the Communities of Canapé Vert project started up in January 2012. Almost half the 5,000 homes in this makeshift/illegal suburb had either collapsed or were heavily damaged. Suburb residents from all sorts of committees jointly formed a development committee and were given a legal say in its reconstruction.
To end the illegality of the way many residents were living in the suburb, both the residents and the government are searching for a fitting solution for the proof-of-ownership issue. Furthermore, houses are being rebuilt for, and with the aid of, the people who need them the most, and 150 houses repaired.

Walls and drainage channels are being constructed to prevent landslides. Work is also being done to provide 8km of paths and streets, 5 water collection points, 11 latrines and 1 community center, while builders are being instructed about safe and sustainable construction techniques.

Affordable
We are jointly developing a plan for affordable housing with the mayor’s office and the Boston-based Affordable Housing Institute (AHI). The objective is to show that investments and repayments based on mortgages are a viable option for low-income groups too. It’s not just about these houses; it’s about developing a sustainable public housing approach that’s a good fit with the income groups found in Haiti.

Where will we build?
A parcel of land to bring this innovative concept to fruition has already been identified. Soon, the stakeholders will collectively work out the plan in more detail and investors will be sought.

Setting an example
This plan can count on attracting a great deal of interest, in Haiti and further afield (the government, private parties and foundations).
We are also preparing collaborative initiatives with other municipal councils, with the KLVK concept serving as an example. Plans encompass the improvement of facilities, the strengthening of local authorities and residential platforms, providing proof-of-ownership documents and municipal facilities.

Sustainability

Thanks to an approach that involves all affected parties, this project has long-term viability. To give residents more security, they and the relevant government department are looking for a solution to the problem of not having the necessary proof-of-ownership documents.
The housing and the infrastructure will be made affordable for the people living in the urban slum. For the first time ever, these people will be able to take out a mortgage on their home and the local bank can lend money so that more and more people are able to finance the purchase of their homes.
In this way, all partners are jointly providing a structural solution to the problem of poor housing and a lack of security in the urban slums of this Haitian city.

+ Be the first to leave a comment