Social housing in Dupnitsa

Habitat Bulgaria implemented “Integrated Project for Securing Permanent Integration of Marginalized Communities in the Municipality of Dupnitsa” in 2014 – 2015. The project was implemented in partnership with the Municipality of Dupnitsa and the local “Amala – Priyateli” Association.
The main goal of the project was to increase the wellbeing and the sustainable integration of the marginalized communities utilizing integrated measures and approaches. The project was implemented in support of a large investment project of the Municipality of Dupnitsa “Home for Everyone” funded by the Operational Program “Regional Development”. The project “Support for the Provision of Modern Social Homes for the Accommodation of Vulnerable, Minority and Socially Deprived Groups of the Population and Other Groups in an Unequal Position” was a one of four pilot projects for the construction of social homes.

150 new social homes were built within the scope of “Home for Everyone” – the pilot project in Dupnitsa. The new social homes accommodated 460 people of marginalized and vulnerable groups of the population, such as people with disabilities, homeless, single parents, families with many children. The Project “INTEGRA” added to “Home for Everyone” by providing support for the targeted beneficiaries, in order to guarantee the integrated approach in solving their problems.

The main activities carried out by Habitat Bulgaria were:

Within Project Area II – “Access to Education”

Habitat Bulgaria provided informational and counseling services, both individually and in groups, for the youth and their parents regarding the need for securing the means for education by planning and managing the family budget, the improvement of the housing conditions, getting prepared for a job interview, etc. These services were provided in one-day workshops, consisting of four modules:

• Planning the incomes and expenses of the household;
• Planning and achieving financial goals – how to save;
• Improvement of the housing conditions –prerequisite for better integration;
• How to apply for a job – job interview and preparation of a CV.

Six workshops were organized for each of the modules. The workshops were attended by 400 representatives of the target groups.

Within Project Area III – “Social Inclusion”

Habitat Bulgaria provided individual counseling and mediation to the representatives of the target groups in order to encourage their social inclusion. New rules were developed, which allowed a new social service “Housing Mediator” to be introduced in the municipality. A team of nine housing mediators was hired and trained. The housing mediators paid home visits to the representatives of the target groups as well to all applicants for accommodation in the new social homes. The housing mediators helped all the applicants in the preparation of the required documentation – filling in applications, assistance for receiving references and certificates from the institutions. The ranking and the selection of the applicants for accommodation were made on the basis of the information collected by the housing mediators. The latter consulted also the applicants not approved for accommodation on the opportunities for improvement of the housing conditions in their homes.

Within Project Area IV – “Measures for Permanent Desegregation”

Habitat Bulgaria’s team took part in the development of the methodological instruments for the improvement of the quality of the local policies for the integration of marginalized communities, incl. the following:

• An analysis of the estimated monthly expenses for rent, maintenance and use of the social homes;
• Development of the methodology for the needs assessment and the ranking of the applicants;
• Development of a methodology for the accumulation and the use of the revenue from rents in the municipal housing fund.

The municipal employees from the administrative unit for coordination and implementation of the methodology for the assessment of the need of a social housing accommodation were trained by Habitat Bulgaria.

Habitat Bulgaria took part in a forum organized by the Municipality of Dupnitsa, at which the experience and accumulated knowledge for the construction and the management of social homes for marginalized groups as well the accommodation in social homes were presented.