Urban Housing Solutions
Enabling dignity in urban displacement
Syrian refugees in Aarsal, Lebanon are being forced to demolish any semi-permanent structures supporting their makeshift shelters. Without rapid assistance in line with Lebanese housing codes, these refugees will be homeless. Return to war-torn Syria is not a safe option. Affected children are falling ill from polluted water tanks and the relentless heat. Across Lebanon, refugees seek access to affordable urban housing and tenure security.
In areas of Syria exposed to violent conflict, displaced civilians urgently need shelter materials and repairs. Windows, doors, electrical and sanitation systems are often damaged. Heavy rains have flooded informal tented settlements, forcing children to sleep without ground cover. The cost of heating fuel has risen nearly five-fold in some areas, leading internally displaced persons (IDPs) to resort to deforestation in the absence of alternative fuel.
Having depleted their savings, many Syrian refugees struggle to afford the soaring cost of rent in southern Turkey. While Turkish neighbors have been historically generous to the 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
- 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
Alternative 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