Organized by Habitat Macedonia and ROMA S.O.S. today the closing conference of the project “Roma housing rights for sustainable urban development” was held.

As part of the series of activities that were carried out within the framework of this project, was preparation of Initial Studies on the status of Roma housing in the Municipalities of Prilep, Shtip and Chair. The data should help in the preparation of policies by the competent authorities, as well as to strengthen the Roma community in the processes of social inclusion. The basis of these initial studies was a field survey covering 1,672 inhabitants of Roma settlements in the cities and obtained data on the conditions in the home, in the local community and determined the basic priorities for local development and the need to improve the conditions in housing. After that was prepared Study for sustainable urban development of substandard settlements in cooperation with the Faculty of Architecture – Skopje, which was promoted for the first time today.

What did the speakers say?

Zoran Kostov (Habitat Macedonia) – This is just one of the many projects dedicated to improving the housing conditions of the Roma, which we have been implementing since 2008. With this project we defined the main problems and priorities for local urban development. The urbanization of substandard settlements is an area in which we remain to act, and I hope that in the realization of future projects we will have the support of all relevant stakeholders.

Aleksandra Savevska (Habitat Macedonia) – In addition to the preparation of the Initial Studies, three local leadership groups with representatives from the local population from the targeted municipalities have been established within this project, and we have held over 17 workshops wherein through a participatory process involving all stakeholders,ways were found to urgently resolve the problemswith housing of Roma and urban development.

Nesime Salioska (ROMA S.O.S.) – The joint recommendations for improving the situation of Roma housing from all three municipalities are as follows: it is necessary to invest in residential buildings or individual objects for living outside the surroundings, for families at risk ; placing public containers through the settlements, with the priority of the main streets; providing affordable financial instruments through which homes can be renovated and will provide a decent place to live without moisture in the premises, leaking roof or narrow space.

Divna Penchikj (Faculty of Architecture – Skopje) – We have resources, we have a large number of students and it is very important for them to start their education by helping these vulnerable groups of citizens.

Mabera Kamberi (Ministry of Labor and Social Policy) – There is still much work to be done to improve Roma housing. It is essential to prepare the Law on Social Housing because we believe that it will adopt certain measures that will enable the most vulnerable social categories to get a decent place of living.

Samka Ibraimoski (Minister without Portfolio) – A complete analysis of what has been achieved by the Roma Decade in 2005-2015 will be done, after which my Cabinet, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, will come up with a plan that we will submit to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia about what needs to be done in the coming period. Our goal is to implement the recommendations given in the initial studies as soon as possible and to improve the situation of Roma housing.

The project started on December 15, 2015 and is being implemented by July 2017. The final beneficiaries of the project are the Roma inhabitants in the municipalities of Prilep, Shtip and Chair, as well as other socially excluded people in the domain of housing. The beneficiaries of this project are also the civil society organizations working with Roma and other socially excluded groups at local level, especially grass root organizations that provide direct help to citizens for realization of their human and civil rights, as well as local and central government, especially the departments which work on the preparation of action plans for housing and urban and local development.

The aim of the project is to increase the involvement and participation of the local community in the processes of social inclusion in housing, thereby further developing and implementing the human rights and EU priorities for housing, health, education, employment, legal and social protection .

*Read more about the finding of the three Initial studies: http://romasosprilep.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Prezentacija-30.06.2017.pdf