The social development bank for Europe

“I’m so grateful we have better living conditions”

The scarcity of affordable housing in Europe is pushing an ever-larger number of people into housing insecurity and homelessness. In North Macedonia, where some 80,000 households are reported to lack long-term housing, a CEB loan is helping to provide social housing for 6,000 people.

Kicevo.jpgNorth Macedonia is a CEB member state where some 80,000 households are reported to lack long-term housing. Indeed, the country ranks second to last in housing stock as a whole among its eight neighbouring countries, with a gap of 20,000 housing units for people on low incomes.

Thanks to a long-term project funded by the CEB, the government of North Macedonia is successfully delivering permanent homes for many vulnerable families.

A CEB loan worth €25,350,000, approved in 2009, is co-funding an ongoing project to construct 37 buildings offering 1,708 rental housing units for low income families across 19 towns and cities in North Macedonia. A grant for a €2,000,000 interest rate subsidy was also approved.  

Supporting the vulnerable

The beneficiaries of the project are among the most vulnerable in the country’s population, and include:

  • residents of areas affected by natural disasters 
  • young adult orphans leaving care
  • socially threatened Roma
  • people with disabilities and their families
  • long-term unemployed and welfare recipients
  • single parents with young children.

The project aims to improve social integration by satisfying the crucial need of basic housing for these individuals and families. Without it, most of the families – some 6,000 people – would have been unlikely to ever gain access to housing, putting them at risk of social exclusion.  

“We have more opportunities.”

BitolaThe CEB-funded project includes residential buildings on Kocho Racin Street in Bitola, a city in the country’s south west. Speak to some of the beneficiaries of the project who live on the street, and the positive impact of having quality, affordable, permanent housing is clear.

Vlaska Stoikova explains, “We used to move from one place to the next. With three children, I always had to rent bigger apartments and the rents were always very high. We would spend half our salaries on housing and struggle to make ends meet.

“But now our housing issue is solved! The rent is affordable. We have more opportunities and can afford to live more comfortably. I’m so happy and grateful. I hope this construction programme continues so that more families can solve their housing problems.”

Elena Blazevska is a single mother with four young children. She says, “We used to live in an apartment with my mother as our only income is from child support allowance. 

I’m so grateful that we now have better living conditions. 

I’ve furnished the apartment using second-hand items, and I’m proud of it – it’s mine. Two of my children go to primary school nearby as well.”

Another single mother of four, Natasha Trajanovska, also struggled to pay high rents, despite being in work. She says, “I’m pleased that the state has taken care of mothers like me, who are raising children alone. When we moved to this apartment our lives changed for the better: the children went to school – in fact, my twins graduate this year. My aim now is to eventually be able to buy the apartment.”

“We are thankful for the support and extremely professional work of the CEB,”  Kristijan Trajkovski, Director-General of the Joint-stock company for construction and management of residential and commercial properties significant to the country.

“These buildings are for people on social welfare, such as single parents of families with children who have special needs. We invested a lot of time and resources to provide a home for all those who really need this type of housing. Moreover, the construction has had a very positive effect on the economy and is contributing to the GDP growth.”

Commenting on the CEB loan, Samir Kulenovic, CEB’s Technical Advisor for Housing,says: “This CEB project paved a way for establishing a social housing system in North Macedonia which will increase supply of social housing in long run and in turn multiply the gains in social integration of most vulnerable population.” 

 

Want to know more?

Social housing | CEB (coebank.org) 

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