The multiple crises facing Lebanon in recent years have resulted in a dramatic increase in poverty across all populations. This has put an additional strain on the ability of already vulnerable populations to access basic services and affordable housing. In major cities across the country, significant proportions of vulnerable Lebanese and displaced communities live together in dense and poor urban neighbourhoods. Difficulties in accessing secure, adequate and affordable housing are shared by both Lebanese and non-Lebanese low-income groups. This is further exacerbated by the socio-economic and financial crises and the subsequent cuts in subsidies on fuel, food and medicine, which in turn has had a significant impact on the rental market, leading to a radical increase in rent prices for all populations. With 90 per cent of displaced Syrians in Lebanon and 31 per cent of Lebanese living in rented accommodations and with a substantial increase in utility fees, the ability of vulnerable families to cover rental payments is increasingly strained. This has resulted in a significant increase in both eviction threats and eviction cases and, consequently, in an increase in social tensions linked to disputes over meeting rental obligations
According to the 2021 Vulnerability Assessment of Syrian Refugees (VASyR), 57% of Syrian refugee families are living in unsafe, poor, or overcrowded housing or tents. Many refugees are facing eviction as a result of their inability to pay rent.
For displaced Syrians, average rent has increased by 18 per cent across all shelter types (from 264,000 LBP in 2020 to 312,000 LBP in 2021). Debt accumulation linked to rent payment increases the risk of tension with landlords and puts displaced Syrians at risk of eviction. Rates of displaced Syrians living under eviction notice increased in the third quarter of 2021 to 7 per cent from 3 per cent in the second quarter and 4 per cent in the first.
With the Ministry of Social Affairs and UN-Habitat, UNHCR co-leads the Shelter Sector and coordinates the overall shelter response to the Syrian crisis.
UNHCR and partners prioritize improving shelter conditions of vulnerable families (both refugees and Lebanese) living in the most insecure dwellings which are hazardous for their health and safety. The response includes:
- Rehabilitating unfinished homes in urban and rural areas;
- Repairing residential buildings in bad condition and lacking sanitation facilities;
- Maintaining collective shelters;
- Providing temporary shelter material in line with the Government’s guidelines to refugees living in informal tented settlements; and
- Site improvement and fire prevention.
The interventions, aiming at physical improvement of housing units in urban and rural areas, are paired with increase in tenure security for refugee tenants (e.g. written rent agreement, occupancy free of charge, rent freeze for an agreed upon period).
Check our latest Shelter Fact Sheet in English.