Cash assistance helps with the rent

Nadine dreams of a better future for her daughter and children, where they won't have to face the same challenges. Photo: NRC

Lebanon | 2023 | CBPF

Lebanon, Beirut. When asked about life in Lebanon these days, Nadine, with wry humour, quips, “Absolutely lovely.” She goes on to explain, “The economic situation in Lebanon is tough, and it is evident everywhere. Everyone is in the same boat.”

Nadine, 44, lives with her husband and their three children. Struggling to cope with successive crises, the family has relied on assistance for the past four years, as the income Nadine’s husband was making in his job is no longer enough.

His salary comes in Lebanese pounds – which has suffered 98 per cent deflation since 2019. Meanwhile, the price of food has increased by 300 per cent.

“The situation wasn’t like this before. There were challenges, but our income was sufficient. Now, even when there’s a job, we’re still struggling,” explained Nadine.

“We’re living off food donations and have got used to it. We can’t afford to buy vegetables. It’s quite hard for us to afford tomatoes. Sometimes we get them during the school semester so that my children can go to school with a simple sandwich.”

Nadine’s situation mirrors that of many Lebanese families hit hard by the economic crisis and its long-term consequences. According to a recent study by OCHA in Lebanon, an estimated 3.9 million people need some form of humanitarian assistance in Lebanon.

Nadine is visually impaired. “I can’t leave the house frequently. My home is everything to me. I know every corner; I’ve adapted to being here.”

The issue of housing and rent occupies Nadine’s thoughts. As the economic crisis began to worsen, paying the rent became the family’s top concern.

Because of the currency deflation, rent costs jumped overnight. Figures from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) indicate that monthly rent for families like Nadine’s increased more than six-fold, on average from two to thirteen million Lebanese pounds. Compare this to the five million pounds ($55 USD) that average workers earn per month, and it instantly becomes clear why people don’t have enough to cover the basics.

With the support of the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s shelter team offered cash assistance to vulnerable families like Nadine’s. It helped her family to cover rent and other basic expenses, at least for a while.

Nadine says that the assistance provided by NRC helped improve things for six months, but given the situation, it is not enough.

“Six months of rent coverage just isn’t enough. Many people still need help. I’m fortunate to have a roof over my head, but others don’t. I could be homeless one day.”

Adapted from original stories from NRC and the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund.

For more information: visit the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund website to find real-time contribution and allocation data on the POOLED FUNDS DATA HUB.