Housing For Serb Refugees From The ’90s

Help provided through the Regional Housing Programme (RHP)

As many as 60 most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons following the 1991-1995 war in former Yugoslavia are going to get proper housing solutions in municipalities in Serbia thanks to the Regional Housing Programme.

Branislav and Vida Jovičić, who moved to Serbia during the war in Croatia in the 90s, are happy to finally get keys of their own apartment in Sremska Mitrovica.

“This is the first time that I applied for a housing solution and it worked!”

Jovičićs are one out of 40 families who will get housing in Sremska Mitrovica, while 20 more will get it in Kruševac and in Prokuplje in this phase of the project.

This is all part of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP), a joint programme of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia (the Partner Countries). The RHP was founded in a bid to offer durable housing solutions to the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons after the Balkan wars in the territory of former Yugoslavia. Over three million people were displaced within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia as consequence of the wars that severely hit the region.

While over the past two decades the majority of them have returned home or have found other durable solutions thanks to the efforts made by their national governments and through the support of the international community, almost half a million have remained displaced throughout the region without having found any durable housing solution yet.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić stressed that in the last three years, Serbia has received 87 million euros in RHP grants. He also highlighted the benefits of the regional nature of the programme: “The scope of the RHP outgrows the national borders and gives an excellent example of efficient regional cooperation”, concluded Minister Dačić.

Although RHP is primarily a donor-funded programme, the partner countries also participate with national contributions. The European Union is the main donor, with a total pledge of EUR 230 million. The Kingdom of Norway contributed EUR 5.5 million to the RHP Fund in November 2012. Other donors include the US, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and other countries. Donors’ contributions are kept in the RHP Fund, which has so far received EUR 159 million and is managed by the Council of Europe Development Bank.

In Serbia, RHP is implemented by the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and R&D PIU. To date, six sub-projects have been approved for Serbia (total grant amount 104 EUR million), would provide housing solutions to 5,200 beneficiary families thus improving significantly the living conditions of some 13 000 vulnerable persons.

source: Norway in Serbia
photo credit: Regional Housing Programme