Fifty of the most vulnerable families returning to Prijedor received the keys to their homes in a new building constructed within the EU-supported Regional Housing Programme on 13 July 2018. Even though they have waited for this moment for such a long time, they did not hide their happiness.
“For 24 years I have been waiting for a home. I was relocated from Sanska Municipality and from Zagreb. I lost everything twice. The previous housing in which we were located had very poor conditions, for instance we had no electricity. I am thankful to the donors that provided the funding for our apartments”, said Pero Plavišić, who received the keys to his home today.
Anka and Nikola Tomić also now have a permanent roof over their heads. The two of them have been relocated 11 times and have been waiting for this solution for 23 years, after relocating from Ključ.
“It gives me great joy to handover the keys to your new apartments and I wish you success and progress in your new homes. The European Union has provided significant assistance to Bosna and Herzegovina and the countries of the region in support to the refugees, displaced persons and returnees. ” said Gianluca Vannini, Acting Head of Operation Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation of the EU Delegation to BiH.
The EU has allocated over EUR 49 million on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in support of durable housing solutions for around 30,000 of the most vulnerable households in 72 communities across the country. Vannini underlined that the European Union will continue to support reforms that aim to provide durable solutions and help ensure that every measure is sustainable in the long run. “A lot of work has been done thanks to the will and commitment of all parties of the Regional Housing Programme”, said Vannini adding that considerable efforts need to be invested to ensure the sustainability of the overall operation.
Semiha Borovac, the BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, stressed the importance of the Regional Housing Programme that has enabled housing solutions for families relocated for more than 22 years. “It is very important that the families housed in this building will live by the social housing model and that they will share the fate of all of those whose housing is solved in the same manner, which means that the local authorities will help in making the housing solution durable”, said Minister Borovac.
Milenko Đaković, Mayor of Prijedor, thanked the European Union and all donor countries for supporting the project, which helps the local community to provide housing solutions for returnees and displaced persons. “I am proud and thankful to the state that the first fifty families will move in today. We plan to build another building with 32 apartments on the same housing principle”, stated Đaković. “This is the first finalized residential building out of 284 that will be constructed in the RS”, said Davor Čordaš,Minister for Refugees and Displaced Persons of the Republika Srpska.
The construction of the new building in Prijedor was made possible within the BiH3 subproject of the Regional Housing Programme, with a total value of EUR 17.4 million, aimed at construction of 552 housing units for 2,200 beneficiaries, to support displaced persons and refugees in BiH. 2018 is a record year for BiH, with 830 new housing deliveries expected, while an additional 700 families are expected to be housed in 2019, and over a thousand families in 2020.
The total value of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) is EUR 584 million and its aim is to benefit around 74,000 refugees and displaced persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia over a five-year period. The European Union is the largest donor, having pledged EUR 234 million, EUR 49 million for BiH.