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Building, upgrading and educating

In these times of global economic turmoil, Habitat affiliates have been pulling together all available resources to continue the fight against poverty housing. This support primarily goes to the low-income families who have become even more vulnerable in the current crisis.

In Bulgaria, Habitat for Humanity is working on developing and expanding partnerships with like-minded local organizations, government bodies and municipal authorities who see inadequate housing as one of the roots of poverty.

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A woman from the region of Stara Zagora in her renovated apartment.

My Home is not My Fortress” is the latest project that helps create accessible homes for families with physically disabled children. Twenty families who otherwise had no chance to improve their living conditions will benefit from the project in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital. After the reconstruction, these homes will have more space and will be equipped with supporting devices so that children will be free to move around in wheelchairs and require only minimal assistance from parents.

Another project that cares for the vulnerable Roma groups moved this summer into its second phase. “Home Improvements for Families at Risk” offers assistance in the form of small loans for basic home improvements to the underprivileged Roma families from the region of Stara Zagora.

This is done to prevent abandonment and institutionalization of children which happens often in the socially marginalized families who very often share lodgings with extended relatives unwilling or unable to accommodate another child. Improving substandard living conditions of the underprivileged families is one of the ways to resolve this problem. To date, nearly 30 homes have been renovated under this program.

At the same time, Habitat Bulgaria, with the financial assistance from the Dutch International Guarantees for Housing (DIGH), continues developing microfinance initiatives. Small, short-term loans allow low-income families, brushed aside by banks or traditional financial institutions, to borrow money for critical home renovations, such as roofing, flooring and insulation. So far, nearly 100 families have benefited from Habitat Bulgaria’s microfinance services.

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Habitat projects care, among others, for the vulnerable Roma families with children.

In addition to that, Habitat has started offering both borrowers and lenders financial trainings. These courses teach families how to manage their budgets in the current economic downturn, and the lenders - to access risks and earnings.

A lot of effort is spent on designing a new-build project in the village of Pamukchii. It aims to create 14 homes for the underprivileged Roma families. At the same time, Habitat Bulgaria is researching possibilities of launching programs on energy-efficiency renovations and environmentally-friendly constructions around Sofia. It also tries to identify tenants’ associations for condominium reconstruction projects.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Bulgaria in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects in Bulgaria.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in this country.

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