Living in dignity
Building social housing for disadvantaged people
The housing market in the Western Balkan countries has been undergoing a transformation since the end of the conflicts. Unfortunately, the housing situation is deteriorating as privatisation increases, and rents are becoming unaffordable for financially vulnerable families. Even with a functioning housing market, it has to be assumed that 25 to 30 per cent of people cannot afford the rents. Illegal settlements on the outskirts of towns and cities are the visible evidence of the shortage of supplies of affordable housing.
The living conditions in these peripheral settlements are beneath human dignity. Most of the small self-built shacks have neither running water nor sanitary facilities. The roofs are not watertight, and in extreme weather conditions, it hardly makes any difference whether you are indoors or outdoors. The huts flood completely in heavy rain. What is more, illegal electrical installations often lead to fires and endanger the whole settlement.
The residents are often members of minorities who are already excluded and people with diverse health and social problems. The poor quality of their housing and the social exclusion that results from it intensify these difficulties. Many children also have developmental problems, mental illness or disabilities. Single parents find themselves pushed to their limits. Their powerlessness is something their children feel, too. Added to this is exclusion and stigmatisation at school.
Help has built housing units that provide 2,039 families with decent living conditions. These homes were either built from scratch or thoroughly renovated by installing bathrooms and kitchens, and connecting them to the sewage, water and electricity networks.
By building homes on legal plots, Help improves the affected families’ living conditions and promotes their integration into society.
A safe home provides the foundation for a better future and creates opportunities in their home region.
“For the future of South East Europe, I hope that human rights will be respected and that everyone can live in dignity from their own work.”
Ranko Bruic, Project Coordinator Serbia
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What we have achieved:
- 2,039 families now live in decent homes.
(Investment to date: €33 million)
Emilia has been living with her husband and their four children in the multi-family housing built by Help in Svilajnac, Serbia, for two years. It is home to 12 households and 48 people in total – families and single people, old and young. She is happy that her family is finally living in safe conditions and that her children’s development is so positive. The flat is decorated with medals that her children have won at sporting events. They show how proud Emilia is of them. Her daughter Jovana would like to be a hairdresser. She dreams of having her own family, a house and a car. But her family does not have enough money for her to take the bus to the vocational school for hairdressers, so she is attending the nearby school and training to be a waitress. Even if some dreams have to wait, they are still achievable.
Help us to provide families a life in dignity.
IBAN: DE47 3708 0040 0240 0030 00
BIC: DRES DE FF 370