Haitian activist tours U.S. demanding housing rights for the country’s 400,000 displaced

By Alexis Erkert – Haiti Liberte

(September 11, 2012) Housing
activist Reyneld Sanon is beginning a tour to key cities in the United States.
The tour will raise awareness about Under Tents, the international campaign for
housing rights in Haiti.  The campaign is
a joint initiative of Haitian grassroots groups and more than 30 international
organizations that are demanding a solution for Haiti’s homeless.
January 2010 earthquake killed an estimated 300,000 people and left 1.5 million
homeless.  In its wake, survivors
spontaneously created more than a thousand temporary encampments throughout
Port-au-Prince.  There has been no
long-term planning for a solution to the country’s housing crisis, and the
Government of Haiti has no comprehensive plan to relocate the majority of
people into safe, permanent homes. 
Indeed, fewer than 6,000 houses have been constructed since the earthquake.
Nearly 400,000 Haitians are still living in displacement camps, where they face
high rates of gender-based and other violence, forced evictions, lack of clean
water and toilets, and cholera.
simply want a space where they can live like human beings,” said Sanon. 

month, tropical storm Isaac hit Haiti, underscoring the crisis affecting those
still living in temporary shelters, which are often not much more than a tarp.
Thousands of shelters were destroyed in the storm’s 60 mph winds and heavy rain
resulted in the flooding of camps. In all, 24 people were killed. 
Bell, coordinator of Other Worlds, said, “It is past time to resolve the crisis
of the hundreds of thousands of homeless people who’ve been forgotten. The
billion-plus in U.S. government aid to Haiti has not resulted in the completion
of one single house in earthquake-impacted area. We in the U.S. need to step up
and ask our government to make funds available to resettle those suffering
inhumane conditions.”
part of the Under Tents campaign, Haitians are calling on their government to
quickly designate land for housing and to implement a social housing plan. They
also call on the Haitian government and international community to allocate
funding to realize this plan. The campaign website is undertentshaiti.com and a
petition is open for signatures at www.change.org/undertents.
will visit New Orleans (Sept 14 -15), Houston (Sept 16 -17), Washington D.C.
(Sept 18-20), New York City (Sept 21-24) and Miami (Sept 25-26).  For more information about public events
organized by Amnesty International USA, the Quixote Center, Haiti Liberte, the
New Orleans Worker’s Center for Racial Justice, and others, see
undertentshaiti.com/schedule or contact Deepa Panchang
Sanon is a leader within the current social movement in Haiti for the rights of
Haiti’s homeless, or IDPs (internally displaced people). He was a founding
member of FRAKKA (Force for Reflection and Action on Housing), a coalition of
40 grassroots groups founded in March 2010, two months after the earthquake;
and currently serves as the director of FRAKKA’s executive committee. Sanon has
been a founding member of a range of civil society groups and has three decades
of experience as a community animator, coordinator, and consultant for a range
of local and international organizations.
is available for interviews while in the U.S. and will be accompanied by
Professor Mark Schuller, a Haiti scholar at Northern Illinois University’s
Anthropology department.