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Habitat eyes Roma projects in Ukraine

November 9, 2011

Bratislava/Kyiv (November 8, 2011) – Habitat for Humanity is exploring possibilities of starting a pilot project of home reconstruction for Roma in the Transcarpathia, Ukraine’s western region, in spring 2012. It will be co-financed by Habitat for Humanity and the International Renaissance Foundation and carries out by the charitable foundation Blago.

“We want to begin reconstruction of housing for Roma in the Transcarpathia as one third of the Ukrainian Roma live there. This project would solve many problems for Roma families,” said Eleanora Culcear, director of Blago. She stressed that part of the funds for housing renovations will come from charitable organizations, while others will be paid directly by the owners.

According to Culcear, the reconstruction will be the first step in solving Roma housing problems. Next steps will focus on the construction of new homes. However, first it is necessary to address the problem of allocation of land plots.

Funds for the construction of homes will be extended by Habitat for Humanity and they will be repaid by the families over a certain period of time. Families who can qualify for the project must have an average income of approximately UAH 1,500 (USD 180).

“Families with lower incomes cannot participate in this project because it is not a give-away program. Habitat for Humanity provides funding for construction but families must have at least the average salary to repay it”.

“Many of the Roma agree to participate in this project. It is also necessary to solve the problem with the construction; unfortunately, we cannot launch this project at the moment as the families cannot afford it. We have preliminary support from the regional administration, and we hope that it will help us continue to move this project successfully,” Culcear continued.

Habitat for Humanity has a track record of carrying out similar Roma projects in Central and Eastern Europe. It has implemented these models in Romania, Slovakia and Macedonia.

Officially, Ukraine is home to 50,000 Roma. Though according to unofficial data, the number is much higher, around 300,000. Many Roma live without registration and move from place to place in search of job making it hard to give an accurate estimation of the population in Ukraine.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built and renovated more than 500,000 homes worldwide. In Europe and Central Asia, Habitat works in 23 countries with partners, donors and volunteers from the region. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.habitateurope.org