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Bulgaria: Challenges and achievements of the national housing policy

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Sofia/Bratislava (October 2013) – At the end of October, Habitat Bulgaria, part of the global nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity International dedicated to the cause of eliminating housing poverty, held its first national Housing Forum in Sofia. This one-day event was supported by the Ministry of Regional Development and Habitat’s corporate partners, Wienerberger AG, PipeLife and Tondach.

Mr. Miroslav Maznev, the deputy minister for regional development, opened the forum. He spoke about the need for effective partnerships between local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide decent and safe housing to everyone. Mr. Dimtcho Mihalevski, the chairman of the parliamentary committee on regional development, ministry representatives and the chief architect of Sofia municipality, Mr. Dikov, talked about the current legal housing framework in Bulgaria and its shortcomings. Representatives of the ministry presented existing development programs and planned activities for the growth strategy for 2014 - 2020.

“At the moment, the biggest housing problems in the country are affordability and quality of housing. We are seeking all possible solutions to improve these areas,” said the deputy minister of regional development. He called for the establishment of the public and private partnerships to find appropriate social housing solutions for Bulgaria, where the public housing sector is almost nonexistent.

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Habitat’s social construction project in Kostinbrod, a small town just outside of the capital, was presented at the forum as a successful example of such cooperation between businesses, local authorities and the third sector. The project was possible largely through the donation of materials from Wienerberger AG, PipeLife and Tondach, as well as the administrative support from the municipality of Kostinbroad.

During a subsequent ceremony in the city of Kostinbrod, the first two families with small children received the keys to their new homes. The project envisages construction of four new energy efficient houses in the town of. The houses, each 94 square meters, are designed for young families with children who have experienced acute housing need. Habitat for Humanity seeks to replicate this model in other municipalities around the country said Mr. Mincho Benov, the national director of Habitat Bulgaria, at the ceremony in Kostinbrod.