- Families served in 2016: 455
- When the program started: 2004
- Families served: More than 6,200 families in housing and over 23,000 in non-financial support service
- Volunteers hosted: More than 1,500
- Housing Solutions: New homes, Energy-efficiency, Housing microfinance, Residential building management
- Population: 2.1 million
- Urbanization: 57.1 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 76 years
- Unemployment rate: 28 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 30.4 percent
Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Macedonia
Habitat for Humanity in Macedonia
Habitat for Humanity Macedonia began work in 2004. From the outset, it piloted several projects. The Home Improvement Fund was named among the three most innovative development projects worldwide by the Global Development Network, a World Bank affiliated institution. Currently, HFH Macedonia has 9 active projects, which are impacting community development through traditional programs for most vulnerable segments of the population; housing market development through developing new products, services and channels aimed at collective apartment buildings and housing microfinancing partnerships; and Housing and Social Development through mobilizing volunteers, CSOs and others around the cause of affordable housing.
The housing need in Macedonia
Macedonia has come a long way in its transition from a centrally planned system to a market economy since its independence in 1991. However, the country’s integration into the European Union and international structures has been slow and challenging. About 80,000 households still lack long-term housing solutions, and 12 percent of the housing stock is substandard. The average age of buildings in Macedonia is 30 years, and because of poor maintenance, about 100,000 units in collective apartment buildings are in need of immediate EE intervention. Housing conditions are particularly grave for Roma households. About 320,000 people, almost 15 percent of Macedonia’s population, live in illegally constructed buildings. The capital city, Skopje, hosts squatter settlements of about 120,000. It has the largest Roma community in Europe, which lives in a ghetto-like environment.
How Habitat addresses the need in Macedonia
HFH Macedonia has developed diverse projects to alleviate the housing need. It strove to create various models to reach a greater number of families and improve the aging housing stock, largely through innovative financial mechanisms. In line with its commitment to help vulnerable groups, HFH Macedonia responded to the current migrant crisis by providing temporary shelter.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Macedonia:
- Home improvement fund and Roma housing fund
HFH Macedonia, in cooperation with a local microfinance partner, set up a Home Improvement Fund offering affordable, short-term home improvement loans. Similar model was applied for the Roma Housing Fund project which is serving the vulnerable Roma communities in five different municipalities on the outskirts of the capital Skopje.
- Residential building management
After the stated controlled mechanisms for maintenance of apartment buildings were abandoned, the decay of homeowners’ organizations in Macedonia has not been addressed until recently. HFH Macedonia developed new service that focuses on improving the management of collective apartment buildings. At least 150,000 housing units in collective apartment buildings need proper management and maintenance, so with this project HFH Macedonia is improving housing in such buildings.
- Energy-efficiency upgrades
In Macedonia, residential energy consumption is high, unaffordable, environmentally degrading and inefficient. HFH Macedonia provides low-income families with small loans for minor repairs, such as window or door replacements that will maximize energy efficiency of their homes. Even these small repairs can contribute towards better living conditions of these families. ‘Green’, atmosphere-friendly homes will lower the heating costs of the families and decrease energy loss significantly which will show especially on the health of the family members during the winter.
- House building
Many families in Macedonia live in overcrowded homes together with parents or grandparents and cannot afford new apartments. To address the need, HFH Macedonia has started construction of an entire housing complex in Veles, an industrial city in the center of the country. Since the groundbreaking in 2008, this project has provided new affordable homes for 36 families in need.
Meet a Habitat family
There is hope and joy in the small house of the Madjarov family in Veles. Sashko Madjarov, his wife Gabriela and their one-year-old daughter Jovana, have been living in a 65 square meter house of Sashko’s mother for more than ten years. Sashko and Gabriela decided to address the crucial questions of owning a home.
Sashko works as a professional driver and Gabriela is a sales lady in a Top Shop franchise for the past year and a half. They had small savings that they were willing to invest in becoming a partner family of Habitat for Humanity Macedonia. The good word travels fast, a satisfied partner family of the same project that has already settled down in the apartment talked to Sashko and Gabriela and recommended them to apply for an apartment in the Habitat settlement in Veles.
”There is just not enough space for the seven people from five generations living in the 65 square-meters house. It means a lot to have a home of your own, which is the reason we decided to make this step and apply for the Habitat New Build project,” says Gabriela when asked about the change it will bring to their lives.
What you can do
You can help Macdonian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Macedonia or lead your own.
Tithe: Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 813000, MACEDONIA 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 Macedonia, please contact us.
Habitat for Humanity Macedonia
Kalina Sejfula, Public and Donor Relations Specialist
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Lucija Popovska, Director of Programs