Friday, March 5, 2010

Haiti: Beyond Building Housing

Seven weeks after the disaster, a number of recent news pieces have highlighted how now is the time to begin shifting people out of the tent camps and into different kinds of housing. This has many merits but inevitably raises lots of questions. One approach that has been advocated by some is trying to get people back into their communities/homesites as soon as possible. It can begin to ween people from the dependency of the foreign aid system. As we have already seen, such camps are not set up to deal with the onset of rains, etc. Additionally, by integrating people back into their communities, they can begin to re-establish social support structures that would likely provide greater resiliency. Of course, this can only happen once the rubble is removed, or the sites are deemed safe, which is a huge challenge. A number of groups are working on this very task, providing many Haitians with some much needed cash.