After the Quake, Luxury Hotels Rise Above Haiti’s Homeless – Yahoo News

1360918461_15feb13-marriothotelRichard François felt relief and a sliver of hope the day he moved his family into the house a few minutes from the homeless camp in the Champs de Mars, one of Port-au-Prince’s main public squares, where they’d been living. It was just a single room, but safer and more solid than the tarp-and-wood structure they’d called home for two years, after their house collapsed in the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated the city. François’ wife, Johanne, had given birth to their daughter on the street two days after the earthquake; he’d cut the umbilical cord himself, using a razor blade. The family had endured days with no food, and nights of terror as bandits and rapists roamed the camp, and storms that ripped their tarp roof away, leaving them soaked.

Then, in early 2012, the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental organization that responds to mass displacement, offered an irresistible deal to François and the 4,600 others who had been living in the makeshift camp on the Champs de Mars: If they found homes, IOM would pay their rent for a year, up to about $500. The $500 wouldn’t allow for much; at the time, an IOM official said, “We’re not talking about a house. We’re talking about renting a room, space on the floor, with a roof, access to water, a communal kitchen, maybe a toilet.” Still, a solid room was better than a tent in a camp.

“IOM moved us to a place where we had water, a clinic, security,” says François, 26. “We were in peace.”

But François’ happiness soon began to fade. He couldn’t find a job, and there were still days when his family did not eat. Apart from the hunger, François knew that once the IOM stipend was exhausted, he would not have the means to continue paying rent. via – Yahoo News.

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