Habitat for Humanity Macedonia
Habitat's work in Macedonia
Macedonia News and Stories
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. At the same time, the Water Supply and Sanitation project, executed in partnership with local authorities, served almost 100 families in the first two months of its operation.
The housing need in Macedonia
Macedonia has come a long way in its transition from a centrally planned system to a market economy after the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. However, much remains to be done to create strong, private-sector-led growth and well-paid jobs. About 80,000 households 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, most are in need of immediate replacement or renovation.
Living conditions for the rural poor are especially bad. The primary need is access to water and proper sewerage. 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 ghettolike environment.
How Habitat addresses the need
Habitat 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.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Macedonia:
- Home Improvement Fund and Roma Housing Fund
Habitat for Humanity 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.
- Water supply and sanitation for the underserved
Almost 23 percent of rural communities in Macedonia have no access to clean water. Some municipalities invested into extending pipelines for water and sanitation. However, thousands of families are still not connected to the networks as they have no money to pay the installation fee. Habitat Macedonia offers needy families loans to connect households to portable running water and sanitation pipelines.
- House building
Many families in Macedonia live in overcrowded homes together with parents or grandparents and cannot afford new apartments. To address the need, Habitat has started construction of an entire housing complex in Veles, an industrial city in the center of the country. In its second phase, the project plans to assist 78 families in building new homes.
- Energy efficient homes
Habitat Macedonia will provide 50 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.
Meet a Habitat family
Zaklina and Zoran Damjanovski with their two boys – Petar and Mario - are renting a 3-room flat on the top floor of a house. Their flat is nice and in good condition, yet they are looking forward to finally having their very own house with the help of Habitat. Both parents believe that this will mean a better living environment for the boys and are also excited to be living closer to their other relatives.
Main country facts: Gained independence in September 1991
Population: More than 2 million
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook – Macedonia
When the program started: 2004
Highlights: New project in Veles in 2008
Families served: More than 1,700