Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria
Habitat's work in Bulgaria
Habitat for Humanity in Bulgaria
Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria has been active since 2001. It runs a diverse, innovative program tailored to meet the local housing need. Habitat Bulgaria works not only with families and individuals to improve their current housing situation but provides support also to communities by partnering with community-based social support organizations, adding value to their activities. Find out more at www.hfh.bg.
The housing need in Bulgaria
During communism, the national government provided families with housing. Once a market economy took hold, the responsibility for housing fell on the local authorities, who have no resources to deal with the problem. As a result, more and more homes need major repairs while many homeowners cannot afford even basic maintenance of their flats. The EU accession significantly increased the cost of property in Bulgaria, especially in the capital, pricing more and more families out of the market.
The majority of Bulgarians own a house or a flat, but they struggle to maintain them. Many live in big blocks of flats constructed 40-50 years ago. Maintenance of these buildings has become a severe challenge for the homeowners, as the structures are rapidly deteriorating. At the same time, social housing programs have been cancelled and low-income families have no options to improve their living conditions.
How Habitat addresses the need
Habitat Bulgaria is influencing markets by developing new microfinance and thermal insulation products. The organization is actively taking part in the housing-related policy-making at the national and the local levels providing societal support with regard to poverty housing, social housing, residential energy efficiency, and integration of marginalized and vulnerable groups of the population.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Bulgaria:
- Fighting poverty and child neglect
Habitat Bulgaria provides interest-free, short-term financing for home improvements and urgent housing interventions to socially vulnerable and marginalized families. The organization works together with local community-based partners and adds value to the social support services they offer in the communities. Habitat Bulgaria´s products are leveraged to maximize the effects of interventions designed to address health care, school attendance, maternity and social skills. Additional support is provided through financial literacy trainings to help familie develop basic financial skills.
- Development of innovations and social enterprise
Habitat Bulgaria is developing an innovative thermal insulation product made of recycled textiles. The ambition is to develop a product, which compares in quality to the most commonly used thermal insulation but is much more affordable, thus providing easier access to the energyefficiency renovations market to lower-income households.
- Advocacy and coalition building
Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria has been actively involved in the housing-related policy making at the national and local levels. The organization has influenced a number of national strategic and legislative framework documents, providing social housing opportunities to more than 6,200 people. Habitat Bulgaria led the establishment of a National Coalition for Home Improvements - “Decent Home” - supported by its members including corporations, professional chambers, non-governmental organizations, associations and municipalities. Habitat Bulgaria is working on the new National Housing Strategy and National Housing Act of Bulgaria and is providing discussion platforms such as the first National Housing Forum ever held in Bulgaria. The organization is also advocating for the elimination of housing poverty in Bulgaria - as a member of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Immigration Issues, responsible for the development of the new National Roma Integration Strategy, and by taking numerous policy positions both as a national Habitat organization and in coalition with other stakeholders.
Meet a Habitat family
Milko and Veronika Georgiev rent a small two-room apartment where they live with their three children – Christiyan (11), Maria (6) and Eva (3). The apartment is too cold and wet during the winter and this worries Veronika as the health of her children is her biggest concern. Milko and Veronika are both employed but they cannot afford to buy a new, bigger home for their family. Milko heard about Habitat Bulgaria´s project in Kostinbrod from his sister and applied to becomea homeowner. They are now impatiently awaiting the project completion and their move to the new house where the kids will have their own room with new furniture and where they can play in the yard and enjoy everything that a happy childhood has to offer.
What you can do
You can help needy Bulgarian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Bulgaria or lead your own. For more information go to: habitat.org/gv
Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 811200, BULGARIA on your checks sent to: Habitat for Humanity International, Attn: Affiliate Tithe, 121 Habitat St. Americus, GA 31709
To learn more about Habitat projects in Bulgaria, please contact us.
Joachim Ramakers, Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Main country facts: Joined NATO in 2004, joined the EU in 2007
Population: 7.3 million
Urbanization: 73 percent live in cities
Life expectancy: 74 years
Unemployment rate: 11.6 percent
Population living below poverty line: 21.8 percent
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook – Bulgaria
When the program started: 2001
Families served: More than 3000
Volunteers hosted: More than 300
Housing solutions: Repairs and renovations of homes, Housing microfinance, Social housing projects, Advocacy