Habitat for Humanity Armenia
Armenia News and Stories
Habitat for Humanity in Armenia
Habitat for Humanity Armenia (HFH Armenia) is the national office of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) and is dedicated to the cause of eliminating poor housing and improving housing conditions of families with low income. HFH Armenia implements various projects including home renovations and repairs, energy efficiency upgrades of residential buildings, in partnership with financial institutions. It also works to raise awareness of affordable housing opportunities. HFH Armenia has been active since the year 2000 and as of July 1st 2015, it has supported 4,323 low-income families throughout Armenia.
The housing need in Armenia
A significant part of the housing stock in Armenia is in deplorable condition; there are no adequate maintenance and management systems in place. The main problems include insufficient energy insulation, poor condition of the gas, water and sewerage systems and unhygienic conditions of bathrooms and kitchens. Insufficient window insulation is a major problem in all regions. Many families do not have access to drinking water. In certain regions, lowincome families still heat their houses with wood because they have no heating system with natural gas. This, in turn, adversely affects the environment. Residential buildings’ maintenance funds formed by the mandatory fees paid by homeowners are too low to cover repair costs. In addition, these buildings do not have proper energy insulation because old construction methods were not based on modern energy efficiency standards. In Armenia, almost half of the population lives in apartment buildings (around 19,000 buildings and 435,350 apartments). The vast majority of the housing continues to deteriorate.
How Habitat addresses the need in Armenia
Typically, Habitat Armenia works with low-income families to build, renovate or improve homes that are paid for over time by affordable mortgages or loans.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Armenia:
- Housing Microfinance
Housing microfinance direction includes the following projects: Home improvement for low-income households; Building hope in female headed households; Use of solar energy by low-income families.
These projects help low-income families renovate and repair their homes, improve energy efficiency, water and sanitation conditions, and create access to solar energy. Low-income families often face problems receiving loans from banks due to insufficient income. Via collaboration with microfinance institutions, HFH Armenia provides access to financing for low-income families. Within the scope of this project, HFH Armenia also provides technical assistance to families and partner finance institutions through training programs and information brochures. The project allows volunteers to help with construction. Solar energy at home is an efficient solution for lowincome families. Given the high solar potential of Armenia and the usage of solar thermal systems, successful implementation of our project will significantly compensate for the constantly rising energy prices and improve social well-being of the population in general. Through “Use of solar energy by low-income families” project, HFH Armenia promotes the use of solar energy by low-income families and gives them affordable hot water throughout the year.
- Residential Buildings’ Renovation and Energy Upgrade; Homeowner Associations Capacity Building
This direction includes the following projects: Multiapartment building common area renovation; Residential energy efficiency for low-income households; Access to renewable and efficient energy in Vayk and Spitak municipalities.
The overall objective of these projects is to support municipalities and homeowner associations to develop and test replicable and efficient models to save energy through energy efficient measures and the use of renewable sources in residential and public buildings in partnership with financial institutions. HFH Armenia implements these projects to renovate the shared facilities of residential buildings and improve their energy efficiency. Within the scope of these projects HFH Armenia collaborates with the municipalities which provide up to 40 percent subsidy and with financial institutions that provide loans. Within the framework of these projects, 11 residential buildings have been renovated and their energy efficiency has been inceased.
Meet a Habitat family
For more than ten years, Arsen Yeganyan’s family had to share their home with a larger family of 16 members. In the 1990s they started building their own house. Prior to the partnership with Habitat, their house had a dilapidated bathroom unit, an outside toilet, kitchen and living room with concrete floors and walls. The family members are hardworking people and they are used to do everything with their own hands and spare no efforts in order to minimize the expenses. Habitat Armenia became a “beacon” for Yeganyans to improve their housing conditions. For five days, a Global Village team of international volunteers joined efforts and built hand-in-hand with the family. Now they have a renovated home and a secure shelter for the generations to come.
What you can do
You can help Armenian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Armenia or lead your own. For more information go to: habitat.org/gv
To learn more about Habitat projects in Armenia or in other parts of the region, please contact us.
Connor Hanan, Associate Director Operations
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Main country facts: Procalimed independence in 1991
Population: 3 million
Urbanization: 63 percent live in cities
Life expectancy: 74 years
Unemployment rate: 17.6 percent
Population living below poverty line: 32 percent
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook – Armenia
When the program started: 2000
Families served: More than 4,300
Volunteers hosted: More than 990
Housing Solutions: Home-improvements for low-income households; Residential Buildings’ Renovation and Energy Upgrade; Homeowner Associations Capacity Building; Technical Assistance, Disaster Risk Reduction and Response