After the devastating Beirut explosion on 4 August 2020, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency immediately responded to help the most affected Lebanese, refugees and others with shelter and psychosocial support.
In addition to the immediate distribution of weatherproofing kits to cover damaged doors and windows, and given the socio-economic crisis that Lebanon has been facing for the past months, UNHCR is launching the cash assistance for shelter – a cash program to help affected families pay for minor repairs in their houses or repay some of the costs they have already incurred.
UNHCR is providing US$ 600 to 11,500 Lebanese, refugees and other families. The amount will be paid in USD cash.
Q&A for beneficiaries
- What is emergency cash assistance for shelter? who is benefiting from it?
- Minor Repair/ Rehabilitation Phase 1 (referred to as ‘shelter cash’) is a UNHCR shelter programme which provides a one-time cash payment to help you repair damages to your home or repay some of the costs you may have incurred to do so. This program targets repairable residential units damaged by the Beirut blast. This shelter cash is intended to be used to secure your home, for example, to procure and replace window frames/glass and/ or repair/ replace doors/ door frames.
- How have the beneficiaries been selected?
- This program is primarily benefiting people with residential units that were lightly or moderately damaged by the Beirut blast. The assessment of damage has been conducted by the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) through door-to-door household visits. This program benefits households with lightly or moderately damaged homes, regardless of their nationality. Receipt of shelter cash does not exclude households from receiving other forms of assistance.
- How do I get informed about the assistance? Where and when do I collect it?
- If you have been selected to benefit from the shelter cash program, you will receive SMSs from both UNHCR and BLOM Bank who have been contracted by UNHCR to transfer this cash assistance. The SMSs will include details of when and where (which bank branch) to collect the cash assistance. It is important that the person who is registered in the LRC assessment is the one to approach the bank. Save the SMSs from both UNHCR and BLOM Bank and bring the same phone through which you received the SMS to the bank as you will need to show the SMS to the assigned bank agent.
- How is the payment process?
- After approaching the bank on the exact date and time provided in the BLOM Bank SMS, you need to show the SMS to the bank agent. In the SMS there is a transfer code. The bank agent will insert your code into their system, and you will then receive another SMS with a one-time-password to confirm that you are the right beneficiary. You need to show this password to the bank agent in order to receive the cash assistance at the bank.
- What document should I bring with me when going to the bank to collect the assistance?
- Please ensure you bring a valid official document. For Lebanese, this includes passport, national ID, or personal certificate (Ikhraj Kaid). For foreign nationals, this includes for example Passport, National ID Card, Family Booklet, Asylum Seeker-certificate, or Temporary Residence Card, residency permit (iqama) and work permit (ijazet amal), depending on availability and individual status in the country.
- How much is the assistance? Is it in LBP or in USD?
- The shelter cash assistance is a one-off grant in the amount of USD 600. It will be paid in USD currency because the beneficiaries of this program are expected to spend the assistance on shelter material, which is often imported and sold in USD.
- In case I am renting my apartment, who will receive the assistance for repairs?
- Given that this program is designed for shelter repair, it will be given to the person responsible for repairing the damaged home.
- Can I spend the money on other needs than repair of my residential unit?
- The shelter cash is intended to be used to seal and protect your home through minor or moderate shelter repairs, inclusive of the costs to repay what you may have already incurred in repairing damage caused by the blast. You are encouraged to spend the shelter cash assistance on repairs to your home only.
- For how long this program will continue? Will there be more assistance coming?
- The shelter cash is a one-off assistance. Expanding this program or providing similar support to help more households will depend on additional funding made available.
- What follow up can I expect from UNHCR?
- After receipt of shelter cash, UNHCR and/ or one of its nominated partners will contact you to assess how you have progressed in utilizing the shelter cash assistance provided to repair your home. This may be through a phone call and/ or a visit to your home. UNHCR and/ or its shelter partner may wish to view receipts for materials purchased or repair works undertaken. Please do keep such receipts for a period of 6 months.
- What will happen if I could not approach the bank on the same date and/or time that I have been asked to?
- If you could not approach the bank on the date and time you have been provided, please call 01758158 between 8am and 10pm from Monday till Sunday.
- Who should I call for more information, or if I face issues when collecting the assistance?
- For more information, or in case of problems when collecting the assistance, please call 01758158 between 8am and 10pm from Monday till Sunday.
To download the full Q&A, please click here.