Using Cash for Shelter: Rent Assistance for Syrian Refugees
Over 600,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Jordan since 2011; 80 percent of these live in urban or peri-urban locations rather than in camp settings. Families in this situation must pay rent for their shelter, and are therefore subject to shifts in rental market values. Rents have inflated substantially due to massive increases in demand, which has also affected low-income Jordanians.
Due to displacement in Syria prior to exile in Jordan, most Syrian refugees have exhausted their savings or fallen into debt. There are limited income opportunities for Syrian refugees in Jordan as they are prohibited from working legally; thus, many earn money through unskilled labour practiced illegally, but wages are low and there are serious potential ramifications if caught. Cultural and practical factors preclude many female-headed households from employment opportunities, making these households particularly vulnerable.
CRS partner Caritas Jordan has provided a large range of assistance measures to Syrian refugees living in host communities; increasingly, this has been coupled with market-based help. A voucher-based winterization project from May to November 2013 provided support of nonfood items for 1,600 households and rent support for 800 households of 300 Jordanian dinars (JOD) over three months, with an end-of-project household survey showing that 80 percent of respondents would have preferred cash support to adapt spending to their specific needs.
This study forms part of a series of case studies undertaken by Catholic Relief Services. To download other studies in the series, please click below.