60 Roma families benefit from a new housing complex in TiranaJan 11, 2018
The New Year could not have come better for the 60 Roma families who entered their new homes on New Year’s Eve. Now they can enjoy the new housing units which will not only improve their livesbut also will bring them closer together.
"This day is a great day for my family and me. It is the first time that we have a house of our own. My six children and I have lived in shacks all of our lives. At times I think I am dreaming”-says Ervehe, a 55 year old women who makes her famalilies’ living by selling old clothes in the market.
Anila, a 9 year old, says: “ This was the best present I could get for the New Year. My three sisters and I have our own room for the first time. I am so happy”.
The way to get here was not easy at all for the 200 inhabitants of the new housing units. In December 2016, 60 Roma and Egyptian families living in shacks in Bregu Lumit area, due to the rehabilitation of Tirana riverbank, were moved from that area to a former military warehouse in Shkoza. Around 40 families were placed in this warehouse while other families benefited from the bonus rent program of Tirana Municipality. The living conditions were so bad. Lack of drinking water, lack of toilets and showers with hot water, made life unbearable.
Given the situation, Municipality of Tirana built a complex of 60 housing units few km away from the center of Tirana.
The Roma and Egyptian Community Counselling Forum established with support from a EU financed UNDP project identified many priority interventions to make the area round the complex operational and more useful and attractive for the inhabitants of the area.
Interventions included the construction of the pavements around the area, systematization of public spaces and construction of power supply network -which were all supported by UNDP in the framework of “Economic Empowerment for Roma and Egyptians- a Booster for social inclusion” supported by the European Union in Albania.
Moreover, the EU-funded project will provide several social services which they have identified as their priorities. Interventions implemented by UNDP amount to Euros 150.000.
Tirana Municipality is responsible for the administration and maintenance of the new residential complex.
According to national statistics 15% of the Roma households live in a non-conventional housing such as tents, shacks, barracks, or any type of precarious constructions. Fear of being evicted and financial difficulties to pay for the mortgage, the rent or the utilities are too common among Roma households
With funding from European Union, UNDP has joined forces with the national counterparts to implement a project called "Economic and Social Empowerment for Roma and Egyptians- a booster for social inclusion”. The project promotes the inclusion of Roma and Egyptian communities in Albania focusing in the municipalities of Tirana, Durres, Shkodra and Berat. The project works to ensure that housing programmes, including social housing and projects for neighbourhood improvements, should address Roma and Egyptian needs through integrated approaches, including also issues of education, health, employment etc.