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Port-au-Prince: gang violence forces displaced people to face the demands of house owners

  • May 16, 2024
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Housing crisis in Port-au-Prince: gang violence forces internally displaced people to face draconian demands from home owners

Armed gang violence in several neighborhoods of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan region has plunged the Haitian capital into an unprecedented housing crisis. Internally displaced people, fleeing clashes and seeking refuge in safer areas, face many difficulties in finding houses to rent.

Faced with this situation, house owners have tightened their rental conditions. According to testimonies collected by Juno7, it is now common for landlords to request exhaustive references and ask potential tenants numerous questions. Among these requirements, some go so far as to require that a person act as guarantor before agreeing to rent the house to them. This precaution aims to better control the identity of tenants and to protect against infiltration by gang members.

“The situation forces me not to accept just any tenant. With gangs terrorizing neighborhoods, you have to be careful with people who will rent your house. Lately, I require a reference person and I even dared to ask potential tenants which neighborhood they come from”declared a lady who owns a house in Delmas 32.

Fear of gangs and the need to provide security have led landlords to increase rents significantly, especially in areas considered relatively peaceful. Houses in these neighborhoods therefore become inaccessible for a large part of the displaced population, creating increased demand and fierce competition for the scarce available housing.

“In order to discourage you, the owners ask for a large sum of money to rent their houses. An amount that is not really compatible with the house in question. They demand a lot of money from strangers in order to rent their houses to people in their neighborhood whom they already know”told Juno7 a young woman who fled her home in Carrefour-Feuilles and moved in with her aunt in Christ-Roi.

High prices charged by home owners add an additional layer of difficulty for IDPs, who are often already financially vulnerable due to the loss of their assets and livelihoods caused by the violence. The quest for safe and affordable housing thus becomes an obstacle course, further exacerbating their precariousness.

“I lost all my things in Pernier. I left the area because of the Kraze Baryè gang led by Vitel’homme Innocent. As I speak to you, I do not have money to rent a house. House prices are too high lately and I can’t afford it. I am forced to stay in this accommodation site hoping that the multinational force will come to Haiti and restore peace so that I can return to my house in Pernier with my two children.”said a displaced person.

This dramatic situation highlights the extent of the repercussions of armed gang violence on Haitian society. Not only does this violence terrorize residents and disrupt daily life, but it also creates a housing crisis which affects the most vulnerable, forced to take refuge in increasingly difficult conditions.

Armed gang violence in Port-au-Prince has triggered a housing crisis marked by rigorous demands from landlords, exorbitant rents and persistent insecurity. Internally displaced people, desperately seeking shelter, are the first victims of this complex and perilous situation.

Port-au-Prince: gang violence forces displaced people to face the demands of house owners

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The reference rate calculated by the BRH for this Thursday, May 16, 2024