Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Why Was USAID’s Haiti Housing Project So Disastrous?

There have been a few articles and reports on how USAID’s housing project in the north of Haiti failed to live up to projections and also cost millions more than planned. This article delves deeper into how that happened, including lack of oversight from USAID, failure to respect quality control measures and mismanagement of the project. The article includes interviews with some of the contractors who mismanaged the funds and built the poorly-constructed, largely dangerous homes.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

How the US Plan to Build Houses for Displaced Haitians Became an Epic Boondoggle

Jake Johnston, Vice News
March 5, 2015

After the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010, the US government responded with an ambitious plan to build 15,000 new houses in the country. But the ensuing program to put roofs over the heads of displaced Haitians has included a boondoggle of epic proportions at one $35 millionhousing development, where shoddy construction practices and faulty sewage systems are currently the subject of an ongoing investigation.

On February 3, the US-based company Thor Construction was suspended from receiving government contracts because of its work in Haiti. Another contractor with close ties to the Haitian president has so far escaped punishment.

As the relief effort’s flagship housing project comes under increased scrutiny, interviews with involved parties and an analysis of contract documents, independent reports, and congressional testimony reveals that the problem is far from a simple case of contractor malfeasance. Rather, USAID, the government agency responsible for administering foreign civilian aid, simply failed to provide meaningful oversight of its contractors and ensure adequate results for US-taxpayer financed projects.

 

Click HERE for the full text.

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