Housing project benefits Syrians, Jordanians

By Mohammed Ghazal in Amman

Syrian refugee Abu Mohammed and his children sit inside their new rental home in Irbid, with the homeowner and representatives of the Norwegian Refugee Council. [Photo courtesy of the Norwegian Refugee Council]

Syrian refugee Abu Mohammed and his children sit inside their new rental home in Irbid, with the homeowner and representatives of the Norwegian Refugee Council. [Photo courtesy of the Norwegian Refugee Council]

Since he arrived in Jordan in 2012, father-of-six Abu Mohammed, a Syrian refugee from Aleppo, has had to move his family from one house to another.

Thanks to a housing support project being implemented in communities hosting Syrian refugees by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), this situation has changed for the better, he said.

As a result of the project, Abu Mohammed's family has moved into an apartment in the Hawara district in Irbid province.

The family is one of 500 that will benefit from the project by the end of 2017, said NRC Jordan project director Rodrigo Milo.

"The purpose of the project is to help the refugees and host communities alike," he said. "The project aims to alleviate the problem of rising rents and lack of housing opportunities for citizens and refugees."

The project works with Jordanian homeowners, helping them to outfit their properties to serve as rentals by giving them financial incentives and other support to complete necessary construction or modification.

This adds new residential units in local markets.

In exchange for the NRC's help, Jordanian property owners will allow Syrian refugees to reside in the new units at no charge for 12 to 18 months.

Participating families are selected by the NRC, UNHCR and other local and international partners.

Solving problems for both sides

"The project met with the admiration of the refugees and Jordanian home owners because it solves a major problem for both sides," Milo said.

"Our aim is to provide suitable accommodations for Syrian refugees, while also giving host communities an opportunity to derive benefit so they do not feel a huge burden by hosting large numbers of refugees," he added.

Jordan hosts more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees, only 10% of whom live in camps.

By the end of this year, Milo said, 500 families will benefit from the project, which is slated to continue into the new year, with provisions to accommodate 500 more.

"The vast majority of the beneficiaries are Syrian refugees, but a number of poor Jordanian families also will benefit from the project," he said.

Financial benefits to all parties

"I moved from house to house over the past six years and had to work long hours to pay the rent," Abu Mohammed said. "But now that I have benefited from the project, I spend all my money on my children's food and education."

At present, he said, he pays 30 Jordanian dinars ($42) to cover the water and electricity bills, "and this is very convenient for me and my family".

Homeowner Mustafa Shatnawi, who is Abu Mohammed's landlord, told Al-Mashareq the project also is important for Jordanian homeowners.

"I could not complete the construction of two apartments in the building, and after taking advantage of the project, I now have two Syrian refugee families living in those two apartments," he said.

"Everybody wins thanks to this humanitarian project, and frankly, it eases the burden on everyone and helps our Syrian refugee brothers," he added.

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11 Comment(s)

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Thank you very much!


I seek God's help.


I wish to join you in this project as a volunteer.


In two years, it will be 1,000 families. If we say each family has 5 members, this gives us 5,000 people out of 1.3 million. Compare between the two figures. We’ve tried tens of times to contact them, but in vain. May God bless the efforts of those who stood by our side!


My family and I are seven. How can we benefit from this programme? Thanks.


By God, this is nothing but talk. We’ve been registered for five years and nobody has ever visited us although they know we have sick cases. They contacted us because of the marriage contracts. They put up a contact number, but when you call them, they would put you on hold without answering you.


I’m a refugee. My brothers and I want a house in Irbid, but we can’t afford the rent. Help us.


May God grant success to all! This is an excellent and successful project. I hope to be one of the beneficiaries.




I was visited by the Norwegian Council in Ramtha because of the maintenance of the house I’m renting. However, the landlord refused, and that was why I quit the project. Is there maintenance allowance that may help with housing?


Dear brother, is this organisation or project present in Irbid? I’m one of those who have communicated with that organisation, but I haven’t benefited from anything in spite of the bad place I’m currently staying in at the village and the treatment of landlord.