Habitat for Humanity Romania
Habitat's work in Romania
Habitat for Humanity in Romania
In 1996, Romania became Habitat for Humanity’s 50th country worldwide. Since then, Habitat Romania has overseen affiliates in Beiuș, Cluj, Rădăuți, Comănești, Cumpăna and Craiova. The affiliates are spread across the three historic provinces of the country, with the national office in Bucharest.
The housing need in Romania
According to the national statistics, 35 percent of the housing stock in Romania is in a state of complete neglect and needs repairs. Real wages for working Romanian families have dropped by about 40 percent, putting additional pressure on the strained social system. The unemployed, farmers and housewives are the social categories most affected by severe poverty. Two-thirds of Romania’s poor live in rural areas. In the cities, many dwellers live in cramped apartments in condominium complexes. Much of Romania’s housing stock is low quality and deteriorating because of a lack of maintenance. A family of eight is more likely to live in a two-room flat than in a house. More than 10,000 blocks of flats were constructed 40-50 years ago and now need serious renovation to their infrastructure, heating systems and roofs. More than half of rural communities have no access to piped water. Since 2005, Romania has faced several bad floods, leaving thousands of people in temporary shelters every year. In the last years it experienced harsh winters with heavy snowfalls that isolated many villages from the main roads and stable food supplies.
How Habitat addresses the need
Habitat for Humanity Romania is one of the most important organizations in Romania in the field of social housing. Habitat for Humanity Romania builds, rehabilitates, provides advice, supports and conducts energy efficiency and disaster risk reduction and response programs to vulnerable groups. The organization runs nation-wide and regional campaigns to raise funds for its construction projects and works closely with a large number of companies who actively support charitable projects.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Romania:
- Construction and rehabilitation of homes and apartment blocks
Habitat Romania builds and renovates homes in partnership with low-income families throughout the country. This ranges from one-house builds to blitz builds of 10 or more houses in just one week. Rehabilitation work is aimed at improving living conditions for families in the communist-era apartment blocks. Many of these projects support socially disadvantaged groups: Roma, orphans and families who care for members or children with special needs.
- Energy-efficient housing
Habitat for Humanity Romania helps families all over the country to save on energy costs by insulating houses and doing minor repairs that minimize heat losses. In addition to this, over 2,000 people from Cluj, Beiuș, Rădăuți, Comănești have taken part in trainings on practical tips for energy efficiency. Habitat for Humanity Romania is also building the first passive community center in Romania in Boldesti – Scăieni. The building is a wooden structure with strawbale walls and natural plasters (clay and sand for interiors and classic plasters for a better resistance). The completed building will have increased efficiency in water and electricity consumption.
- Disaster response
following natural disasters: floods, earthquakes, fire and landslides. Over the years, Habitat for Humanity Romania has helped more than 20,000 people through its disaster risk reduction and response programs. Wherever possible, Habitat for Humanity Romania has rehabilitated homes destroyed by water, but often has had to rebuild them entirely. These programs are community based and carried out in partnership with national government and local governments and businesses. The massive flooding in September 2013 affected 18 towns in Galati County, of which Cudalbi was the hardest hit. Two people died, 500 houses were flooded and more than 3,000 residents were affected. Habitat for Humanity Romania intervened from the beginning by supporting the residents in the reconstruction process after the disaster through the program “Good deeds in hard times”, organized in partnership with the JTI Foundation.
Meet a Habitat family
Seven members of the Rudaru family used to live on 50 euro for an entire month. They had a regular house, which now sits next to the trailer, where they had to move when the local city hall authorities decided that the house was at risk and ordered the family to abandon it. The family could hardly fit in the 10-square-meter trailer.
Habitat Romania organized a eccelarated build and, with the help of a corporate partner, Henkel, constructed a new house for the family in only 30 hours. The new house is safe and provides enough space and privacy for all family members.
What you can do
You can help Romanian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Romania or lead your own. For more information visit: habitat.org/gv
Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 813900, ROMANIA 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 Romania, please contact us.
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
Joachim Ramakers, Program Manager
Main country facts: Joined NATO in 2004, joined EU in 2007
Population: 21 million
Urbanization: 54 percent live in cities
Life expectancy: 74 years
Unemployment rate: 7.2 percent
Population living below poverty line: 22.2 percent
Find more country facts on:
CIA The World Factbook – Romania
When the program started: 1996
Families served: More than 16,000 through housing programs, more than 20,000 through disaster response
Volunteers hosted: More than 26,000
Housing Solutions: New construction and rehabilitation of houses or apartments, Construction and rehabilitation of schools, community centers, dispensaries, Disaster Risk Reduction and Response, Energy–efficiency