The aim of this report is to provide an evaluation of the activities of Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) cash for shelter program in the Akkar district in Lebanon from the perception of a refugee, a landlord and attempting to undertake a short macroeconomic analysis.
PCPM succeeded in attaining its objective of securing a habitable and dignified shelter for the Syrian refugees living in a rent setting. For the refugee respondents, rent payment is both the main worry and main assistance priority and treated as essential aid. While majority of refugees interview could do without food and other kinds of humanitarian assistance, even smaller than needed level of rent payment assistance was still perceived as critical and needed. Importantly, in majority of cases, with partial or full support from PCPM, rent remains primary expenditure – the one that has to be covered regardless of everything else.
Despite tightening budgets and a necessity to limit the level of rent support, the cash for shelter intervention allowed the refugees to refocus their expenditure from rent payment / shelter stability to other basic needs, such as improvement of living conditions, food, food and education. Over the course of 2014 PCPM has gradually decreased assistance levels to $80 - $90 / family / month, without these positive effects being reversed.
PCPM cash for shelter project implemented over 2.5-year period has had a macroeconomic impact on the recipient Lebanese communities. In 2014, average monthly disbursement of cash for shelter payments to the Lebanese landlords amounted to over $153,000/month, which benefited over a thousand local families. As the rent payments went directly to the local community members, this humanitarian project has had the same effect as if an investor opened a factory or another business and employed over 300 Lebanese citizens of $500/month salary. In the township of Bire alone, PCPM cash for shelter payments had an economic equivalent of providing $500/month employment to 90 Lebanese citizens.
The cash for shelter project contributed to limiting tension in the job market. On one hand, the refugees included in the PCPM program were under lower pressure to seek any employment at any (low) cost in order to prevent their families from being evicted. On the other, over a thousand Lebanese landlord families benefited from additional, stable income averaging over $150/month/landlord family