Urban Housing Solutions
Enabling dignity in urban displacement
A surge of violence in northwest Syria has displaced nearly 1 million civilians since December 1, 2019, generating tremendous needs for shelter materials and repairs. Urban housing infrastructure is severely damaged. Overflowing tented settlements are poorly insulated, heated, and protected from flooding rains. At the worst of times, children have been seen sleeping in the open air.
Neighboring Lebanon now hosts the largest number of refugees per capita in the world, placing enormous strains on housing, water, and sanitation. Syrian refugees struggle to pay rent in urban areas and to cope with dismal living conditions in informal temporary settlements. Recent housing orders have heightened the risk of homelessness, yet return to war-torn Syria is not a safe option.
Having depleted their savings, many Syrian refugees struggle to afford the cost of rent in southern Turkey. While Turkish neighbors have been historically generous to refugees, landlords are increasingly reluctant to rent to unemployed Syrians. Refugees may be asked to pay up to 6 months of rent in advance. Many lack written leases and protection from forced eviction.
RPI and its local implementing partners are working to meet these needs by:
- Subsidizing rent and securing free housing rentals for IDPs in exchange for shelter repairs
- Upgrading housing to render it fit for habitation: rehabilitating plumbing, windows, doors, and generator connections
- Distributing mattresses, blankets, heaters, fuel, and insulation to civilians evacuated from besieged areas and/or fleeing violence
- Distributing waterproof floor matting to flooded tented settlements
- Distributing dried olive pulp as an environmentally friendly fuel for heating and cooking
- Monitoring forced evictions and living conditions
- Mediating disputes between landlords and refugee tenants
Renewable Fuel And Other Housing Essentials
In Syria, 6,765 persons received waterproof floor matting for tents and 4,920 Syrians received alternative heating fuel. 440 civilians evacuated from Eastern Aleppo received mattresses, heaters, blankets, and insulation.
In Syria, 2,400 persons received protective sheeting for 600 damaged shelters and 461 IDPs benefited from repairs to 87 shelters. In Lebanon, 194 refugees received materials for 43 replacement shelters.
In southern Turkey, 240 refugees, mainly women and children, received subsidized rent and/or coal. In Syria, landlords provided 1 year of free rent to 75 IDPs in return for shelter repairs.
RPI’s partner Olive Branch delivering dried olive pulp as environmentally friendly fuel to IDPs in Syria
A Syrian family supported by RPI’s housing rental program through the Ulfah House Initiative in Turkey