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Preface Organisation Organisation and its development Major projects Context Prevailing housing conditions and specific housing problems Partnership Design and planning Development Financing Ongoing management Project Description Main project aim(s) Main project features Main groups benefiting from the project Current state and future plans Financial Information Capital costs Sources of current and future revenue Sources of current and future funding for the organisation Social Aspects Social sustainability Involvement of the residents Environmental Aspects Economic Aspects Housing affordability and/or accessibility Employment and/or income generation Architectural Design Barriers Lessons Learned Innovation and Impact Key innovative features of the project Impact of the project Broader impact Changes of local or national government policy as a result of the project Monitoring and evaluation Key indicators of the project success The project weaknesses Recognition Transfer Contact Housing Center | Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life

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Preface

Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life Social Housing in Supportive Environment (SHSE) is a programme that provides housing and social support to the most vulnerable citizens of Serbia. It represents one of the extended social welfare rights at local government level. Social Housing in Supportive Environment goes beyond providing housing support – it is an instrument for achieving beneficiaries’ social inclusion and a way for them to break the cycle of poverty. The programme was initiated in 2002 by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia, the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia, UNHCR and the humanitarian unit of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), who was initially the main project donor. Since that time the project has been continuously implemented and improved. The programme beneficiaries are the most vulnerable citizens of Serbia – refugees and internally displaced persons, mainly accommodated in collective centers, the Roma, and returnees upon the Readmission Agreement. According to ETHOS1 classification, they are all homeless. A problem common to all these groups is the inability to solve their housing situation on their own and under present market conditions. They need the support of a broader community in order to achieve successful social integration and become active members of society. Social Housing in Supportive Environment includes two components: 1. The construction of housing units, which are the property of local self-governments; 2. Creating a “supportive environment”, as a set of individually tailored support services provided by the Center for Social Work and a Host Family. SHSE proved to be an adequate response to the needs of the most vulnerable populations. By mid -2014, a total of 1,014 housing units have been built in 42 municipalities in Serbia and they accommodate 2,643 persons. Housing Center would like to express sincere gratitude to those whose commitment to the project idea at its earliest stage made the SHSE concept possible – Ms Marija Vujosevic, a Special Advisor at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia, and Mr Ernesto Morosin, the Head of the Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) Housing Office in Belgrade.

1 The European Federation of National Organizations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) has developed a European Typology of Homelessness and housing exclusion (ETHOS) in 2005 as a means of improving understanding and measurement of homelessness in Europe, and to provide a common “language” for transnational exchanges on homelessness. This typology is available at http://www.feantsa.org/spip.php?article120

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ORGANISATION Organisation and its development Housing Center – Housing Development Center for Socially Vulnerable Groups from Belgrade, Serbia, is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation gathered around the idea of improving the housing conditions of vulnerable groups. Housing Center advocates the interests of the socially vulnerable by providing adequate space for their life and work, and by facilitating their social integration and self-reliance. Housing Center started its activities in October, 2004, during the closure period of the Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) Housing Office, whose experience and activities it was based on. SDC Housing Office had been the main implementing partner of the UNHCR Shelter Programme in Serbia since its opening in 1995, until the termination of SDC Humanitarian Aid Programme at the end of 2004. What we stand for is a society based on human and democratic principles, in which each individual is able to have a dignified and secured life, which provides a support system for marginalized groups and in which differences are valued positively. We strive to contribute to social inclusion of vulnerable groups through different activities (housing units construction, support in social integration, research, public advocacy, education, consultancy, and other), to enhance the quality of different aspects of their housing, and to provide support in developing our society as a democratic one. Our organisation was founded by 18 members and has a network of partners and associates - mainly architects, engineers of different profiles, sociologists and social workers. Projects 2005-2014 In the period of 2005-2014 Housing Center implemented numerous projects significantly influencing the housing conditions and social inclusion of the most vulnerable groups in Serbia, primarily refugees, internally displaced persons including the Roma, and vulnerable local population. The projects were financed by many donors and implemented in close partnership with different ministries of the Government of Serbia and local communities. The total value of the implemented projects amounts to EUR 6 million. We are a member of FEANTSA (the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless), a coordinator of the Housing Board of the League for Roma Decade Serbia, and a member of Anti-Poverty Network Serbia. Housing Center architects and engineers are licensed by the Chamber of Engineers of Serbia and are members of the Professional Association of Architects of Serbia.

Major projects 1 | The construction of social housing units for the most vulnerable groups Livelihood Enhancement for the Most Vulnerable Roma Families in Belgrade In partnership with UNOPS, the City of Belgrade and the Danish Refugee Council, Housing Center is currently implementing the EU-funded project “Let’s Build a Home Together” worth EUR 3.6 million. The project objective is to provide adequate housing for up to 200 Roma families who were affected by the resettlement actions undertaken in April 2012, currently residing in metal housing containers on several locations in Belgrade. By providing adequate housing solutions through intensively participative process, this project will enable most vulnerable Roma families to gain and sustain a safe and secure home. Housing Center is providing technical support in the construction of social housing and will also support Housing Center | Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life

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the community regeneration activities, which would raise awareness, enhance the sense of ownership over the project results, and ensure durability and sustainability of the action. The implementation period is July 2013 – January 2015. Social Housing in Supportive Environment Housing Center is one of the creators of the new service within the social welfare system in Serbia – Social Housing in Supportive Environment. The concept provides both housing and individually tailored social support measures to the most vulnerable citizens of Serbia – refugees, internally displaced persons, Roma population, persons with disabilities, and homeless people. So far, Housing Center has constructed 278 housing units in 14 municipalities across Serbia for about 1,000 vulnerable beneficiaries. Beside technical component of the project, Housing Center organized several workshops for the project stakeholders, and together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy developed and printed a Guidebook on Social Housing in Supportive Environment and presented the project concept at different conferences on social housing in the region. The qualities of the buildings constructed by Housing Center were acknowledged at the exhibition within the Belgrade International Week of Architecture 2011 and the Salon of Architecture 2010, 2011 and 2012. The satisfaction of their tenants and the high level of their social inclusion were confirmed by several external evaluations. The project implementation started in 2005 and is still ongoing.

2 | Research in the field of housing for vulnerable groups PAIRS (Effective Programs for the Active Integration/Inclusion of the Roma in SEE) PAIRS is a regional research project aiming to identify, exchange, adopt and disseminate good practices and effective methods for integration and inclusion of the Roma in Southeast Europe. The project is implemented in 9 countries of the region and is financed by the EU Transnational Cooperation programmes for SEE. There are 18 project partners, mainly NGOs and relevant ministries and institutions of the countries involved. Housing Center is the only partner from Serbia. Implementation period: 01.10.2012 – 30.09.2014 Municipal Social Housing Project in Serbia In consortium with the company KPMG, Housing Center is engaged as Technical Assistance to the Republic Housing Agency and Municipal Housing Agencies in Serbia in the realization of the Council of Europe Development Bank’s loan for the construction of 1,700 social housing units and development of the social housing system in Serbia. During the three-year project, Housing Center will advise and capacitate the project stakeholders to develop procedures and build capacities for the successful project implementation. Implementation period: 01.09.2012 – 31.08.2015. Research on Homelessness in Serbia Within the project “Social Inclusion of Homeless People in Serbia“, and in partnership with the organisation DISC from the UK, Housing Center conducted a research on homelessness in Serbia. The objective of the project was to examine the scope of homelessness and the profile of the homeless in Serbia, contribute to raising awareness of their needs and initiate a dialogue on reduction of homelessness. The project also identified the main structural causes of homelessness and developed recommendations for policy changes. Upon the project completion, an international conference on homelessness was organized as a follow-up. The project was funded by the EU and the Open Society Foundation, and supported by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of Serbia. Implementation period: 01.09.2011 – 31.05.2012. 8

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3 | Technical assessments and monitoring Technical assessment of living conditions in the collective centers in Serbia Housing Center performed technical identification of 28 collective centers and reconstructed 17 collective centers with the poorest living conditions throughout Serbia. Housing Center developed the assessment methodology, performed an in-depth technical survey, elaborated the proposals for improvement, developed technical specifications and the bill of quantities. Executed works improved electrical installations, heating installations, sanitary facilities and general hygiene and safety of the buildings. Implementation period 15.11.2007 – 30.06.2008. Monitoring and Follow-up of 40 SDC Humanitarian Aid projects in Serbia On behalf of SDC, Housing Center performed detailed monitoring of 40 humanitarian projects financed and implemented by SDC in Serbia and Montenegro, in the period of 2000-2004 (rehabilitation and extension of different social institutions and schools, construction of social housing in supportive environment housing units, day centers for children and adults with mental disabilities, farm houses, and self-help construction), and reported on the achieved results and lessons learned. The monitoring had three objectives – social objective (whether the projects achieved their goal), technical component (the status of projects infrastructure), and institutional objective (whether the partners fulfill their obligations). Implementation period: 01.06.2005 – 30.04.2006 As part of the SDC team in 2002, Housing Center was involved in the creation of the SHSE concept. Since that time (2003-2014) Housing Center has been continuously implementing the SHSE project and constantly improving it. It organized 6 capacity building workshops for the project stakeholders. In 2009, Housing Center and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy carried out a research to evaluate the achieved results of the SHSE projects implemented until that time, and organized a national conference with the stakeholders and beneficiaries to further improve the project concept. In 2010, Housing Center and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy elaborated and published a Guidebook on Social Housing in Supportive Environment as a tool both for the participants in already implemented projects and those who are interested in taking part in future ones. In an independent evaluation of the EU-funded programme “Support to Refugees and IDPs in Serbia” (IPA 2007) it was stated that “HC was particularly active in developing the SHSE model, from the early SDC projects conducted since 2004, and is the most experienced NGO in SHSE projects in Serbia. This was probably of outmost importance for a successful implementation of the Project, while the fact that HC is managed by architects explains the high quality of design and construction works within SHSE”2.1

2 Mojović, Ð. (2010), Evaluation of the IPA2007 Project Implemented by UNHCR in Cooperation with Housing Center, UNHCR, Belgrade, p 21

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Context Prevailing housing conditions and specific housing problems Housing Sector in Serbia In Serbia, housing sector is not seen as a political objective. Serbia has neither a functional system of affordable and social housing nor an adequate housing policy in place. The Law on Social Housing was adopted in 2009, but mechanisms for its implementation have not been established yet. The mechanism that would assist the vulnerable in solving their housing needs is still not in power. The absence of a functional housing policy and strategies at national level resulted in all groups of residents, including the most vulnerable, being forced to find a solution for their housing situation under existing market conditions. This is still not feasible for a large number of them due to the following reasons: • The estimated 24.6% of the population lives at risk of poverty 3. The poorest are the people residing in rural areas, uneducated and unemployed persons, refugees and IDPs, the elderly and persons with disabilities. • The unemployment rate in Serbia is 24.6 %, being the highest among the neighbouring countries.4 • It is estimated that the present shortage of apartments is about 100,000, which additionally raises apartment prices on the market. 1

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The SHSE concept was designed as a response to the pressing need to resolve the housing problems of vulnerable populations who have been living in temporary and inadequate housing situations for many years. There is also a need to support local communities in absorbing and facilitating the integration of vulnerable displaced populations, the Roma residing in informal settlements, as well as a great number of returnees, in accordance with the National Strategy for Resolving the Problems of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons and Local Action Plans. Refugees and IDPs in Serbia Serbia is the country with the highest number of displaced persons in Europe. In the aftermath of the war conflicts in former Yugoslavia, Serbia provided refuge to about 600,000 refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and 210,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Kosovo. Refugees arrived to Serbia driven away by war conflicts in Bosnia and Croatia in the period of 1993-1995 while internally displaced persons arrived in 1999, upon the Kosovo crisis. Both groups are mainly Serbs, while among the displaced populations there are about 40,000 Roma persons. The number of refugees in Serbia has been reduced by about 90% in the period of 1996-2014. This drop was mainly the result of their integration in Serbia. Refugees and IDPs are among the most vulnerable groups in Serbia. Their unemployment rate amounts to 33% and is much higher than within the local population; 29% of refugees have monthly incomes of less than 48 Euros, which is a threshold for social welfare benefits; 61% of refugees do not have a housing solution. A UNDP and UNHCR survey concluded that “housing is one of the most important components of economic position and is expected to be one of the most jeopardized dimensions of IDPs’ life in Serbia”.53 Today, almost 20 years after the conflicts, Serbia still hosts 45,000 persons with refugee status and 205,000 internally displaced persons. The majority of them reside in private accommodation but still 1,551 people live in 23 official collective centers 6. In addition to these numbers, a significant number of IDPs live in unrecognized, informal collective centers and settlements. Only 5% of refugees opted for returning to their country of origin. 4

3 Draft of the Second National Report on Social Inclusion, Government of Serbia, 2014 4 Statistical pocketbook of the Republic of Serbia, 2014, p 43 5 Cvejić, S., Babović, M. (2008) Social and Economic Position of IDPs in Serbia, Analysis based on IDP Living Standards Measurement Survey, UNDP, Belgrade, p 27 6 Detailed data on refugees in collective centers available at: http://www.kirs.gov.rs/articles/centri.php?lang=SER

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The persons currently accommodated in collective centers are characterized by extensive vulnerability.. Everyone capable of leaving collective centers independently has already done so. For the most part, the persons who remained in the centers are elderly persons, single parents, persons with disabilities and the multiply vulnerable and poor. They are predominately unemployed and their chances of finding work are limited. They rely on social assistance programmes and seasonal work. A considerable part of vulnerable displaced population resides in private accommodation in extremely poor living conditions (in unfinished and inadequate housing units lacking basic installations and insulation, illegally and under a constant threat of eviction). At the same time, for many extensively vulnerable individuals and/or families living in private accommodation, coping mechanisms are completely strained since they have to allocate a large part of their limited income to cover the rent. It was a challenge to develop an approach which simultaneously lessens their social dependency and provides the vulnerable with a feeling of social belonging.

collective center in Vranje, 2000

In 2003, when the implementation of the SHSE project commenced, there were 26,863 persons accommodated in 338 collective centers. The collective center buildings were no more than improvised shelters in abandoned buildings such as old schools, gym halls, industrial buildings, workers barracks, and hotels set up in 1995. They were intended to serve just for a short period of time, but some of them are still open. The living conditions in almost all colective centers are far from appropriate. Some structures have been improved, but daily lives remain difficult and precarious, particularly for families with children, elderly people and persons with disabilities. In 2003, the Government of Serbia decided to initiate a coordinated process of their gradual closure. This process is delicate and challenging since many of the accommodated persons and families have stayed in the colective centers for more than 10 years. The long period spent in these facilities developed a “collective center syndrome” which results in passivity, the lack of initiative and higher vulnerability level, i.e. a ”dependency syndrome”. The initial SHSE idea was presented within the National Strategy for Resolving the Problems of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Serbia. The Strategy envisioned the construction of small-scale housing communities for the elderly – “mini” elderly homes, and appointment of a host family, i.e., “a family with children engaged in the social welfare system to look after 5 to 6 elderly families no longer capable of taking care of themselves”.71 The Government of Serbia and different international organisations, supported by civil society, have made significant efforts to improve the life of refugees and IDPs in the past years. However, many problems still remain unsolved, mainly those related to housing, and especially housing of the most vulnerable. The SHSE project aims at addressing those needs primarily. 7 National Strategy for Resolving the Problems of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Serbia, Government of Serbia.

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Roma Housing Situation There is a considerable difference between the living conditions of the Roma and general population in Serbia. This gap indicates the level of social exclusion of the Roma and the discrimination in the field of housing which has been present and tolerated for years8. According to the research conducted in 20029, which is also the only research of that kind and scope conducted till present, there were 593 Roma settlements in Serbia at the time, each having more than 15 houses. Out of the total number of these settlements, 70% did not have a regulated ownership and legal status. About 44% were characterized as slums and as being unhygienic. The infrastructure of these settlements was inadequate (about 30% did not have water supply system, more than 60% did not have sewage system, and 35% lacked the electricity supply), as well as their access to institutions (for about 50% of the settlements the nearest school was located more than 1 km away, health institutions for about 60% of the settlements, and grocery stores for 80% of the settlements). The situation recorded in 2002 has not significantly changed until today. 1

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According to ECRI, the issue of illegal settlements has often been dealt with by different authorities through forced evictions, which, even if there is a legal basis, take place with little advance warning and no consultation with the Roma families. In many cases the evicted Roma were offered no alternative accommodation, some were offered accommodation in metal containers, while few were provided with social housing10. 3

The Roma also constitute a large part of the internally displaced population from Kosovo (IDPs), accounting for approximately 20%. Unfortunately, due to widespread discrimination, Roma IDPs also live in poorly equipped housing and they critically lack basic hygienic conditions, in housing far more substandard than the rest of the IDP population, and way further from domicile population. For instance, 6.9% of non-Roma IDP households live in housing not intended for habitation (compared to only 0.5% among domicile population), and the percentage is as high as 32% among Roma households.11 “This difference is even greater when measured by square meters per person within a household (non-Roma IDP households have an average size of living space per person of 18.43 m², while this figure among Roma households is 8.14 m²), or when considered from the point of view of housing infrastructure.”12 4

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SHSE has so far proven to be a successful tool for social inclusion of the Roma by providing housing and additional support services much needed in the cases of extreme vulnerability. By providing an opportunity for cultural, ethnic, and, to a certain extent, social mix, SHSE is facilitating the process of social integration very effectively.

Roma settlement in Belgrade, 2013

8 Report: “The effective implementation of the Roma policy at national and local level in Serbia”, Minority Rights Center, YUROM Center, Roma center for Women “Bibija”, Belgrade, 2013, p 36 9 Jaksić, B., Bašić G. (2005), “The Art of Survival: where and how the Roma in Serbia live”, The Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade 10 ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance) Report on Serbia, p 21 11 Cvejić, S. Babović, M. (2008) Social and Economic Position of IDPs in Serbia, Analysis based on IDP Living Standards Measurement Survey, UNDP, Belgrade, p 28 12 Ibid, p 29

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opening of the SHSE building in Prijepolje, 2010

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Partnership The SHSE project is a result of a true partnership and is developed in synergy with different stakeholders, from central to local level. The project is created in cooperation with a great number of municipalities and is in line with their adopted Action Plans for support to vulnerable populations. The main project partners are: 1. The Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia - coordinates the process of closing the collective centers and is the institution responsible for dealing with refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees. 2. Local self-governments – 42 local self-governments are the final beneficiaries of the programme, they provide the construction land equipped with infrastructure and secured financial resources to cover the needs of the project. 3. Local Centers for Social Work – 42 Centers for Social Works joined the project and are taking care of the accommodated vulnerable individuals and families by providing them with tailored support services. 4. Implementing NGOs – there are 8 NGOs implementing the SHSE project in Serbia. Housing Center is a local NGO with thorough understanding of the refugee and IDP situation in Serbia and with extensive experience in building construction. It implemented the majority of projects so far. Prior to the implementation of each project, the main partners are to sign a Memorandum of Understanding by which their initial intention is confirmed and a Agreement on Cooperation in which their roles and responsibilities are explicitly defined. Other project stakeholders are: 1. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia - responsible for creating conditions for the project development and for providing guidance for its implementation. 2. Donor organisations - many donor organisations took part in the project financing or cofinancing. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation was the initiator and the first project donor; the EU is the most important project donor today. 3. UNHCR – responsible for protection of refugees and the displaced. 4. Project beneficiaries – the residents of collective centers and other vulnerable citizens of Serbia actively participate in identifying appropriate housing solutions. Intensive information campaigns, different volunteering activities and capacity building programmes strengthen their capacities to be a part of the selected housing solution. Design and planning The Commissariat for Refugees and Migration coordinated the process of closure of the collective centers, which was guiding the implementation dynamics. The implementation design and planning were adjusted to this main goal and were conducted in cooperation with project partners, upon analyzing the specific needs of vulnerable groups and local communities. The selection of the municipalities where the project was to be implemented was jointly made by the project stakeholders, based on several criteria: • the number of refugees and IDPs in the municipality, • the number of collective centers in the municipal area, • the vulnerability level of potential beneficiaries, • the strategic plans of the Commissariat for Refugees to close collective centers, • the strategic plans of the municipality with regard to the refugee and IDP situation • the interest and capacity of the municipality to participate in the project, • the availability of high quality construction land owned by the municipality Housing Center | Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life

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Development In the year 2002, prior to the development of the first two pilot projects, a number of round table meetings with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which had just entered a comprehensive reform process of social service decentralization, were held in order to define the institutional and legal framework of the project. It was important to link the first pilot projects to the ongoing reform processes and to determine their compatibility with the new system. The project development and the reform of the social welfare system were conducted simultaneously, which was an opportunity to gather concrete and relevant indicators. After the first two small-scale projects had been implemented in 2003 and the first positive results collected, the project started growing. Its rapid and continuous expansion has not been interrupted until today. In the period of 2003-2014, a total of 1,014 housing units have been constructed in 42 municipalities in Serbia. More and more municipalities are interested in this project which will continue to rise in the coming years. Financing In 2003, the Government of Serbia commenced a planned and coordinated process of the gradual closure of the remaining 338 collective centers. As a consequence of difficult financial situation in the country, it was not possible for the Government to adequately respond to the needs of significantly different vulnerable groups accommodated in the collective centers. Due to the high costs of housing programmes, the project financing was left to international donors. Until 2004, the Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) acted as the main project donor. After 2004, when the first positive results of the project became visible, project financing was taken over by many international and national organisations – the European Union (the main project donor today), UNHCR, UNDP, the Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migrations of the USA (BPRM), and the Governments of Serbia, Italy, and Germany. The project was co-financed by different international and local institutions –the Municipality of Negotin, the City of Vranje, the Fund for Aid to Refugees of the Province of Vojvodina, the Governments of Slovenia and Switzerland, Arbaiter Samariten Bund (ASB), HELP, the Municipality of Pančevo, the Habitat for Humanity, and others, including private donors such as Foundation Divac and local NGOs, one of which is Housing Center. The financial participation of the municipalities in the project is very high. They are providing the construction land and the necessary infrastructure without compensation, which amounts to approximately 25% or more of the total value of construction works, i.e. donated amount. Ongoing management Once the beneficiaries are selected and moved in, local self-governments and local Centers for Social Work take over the project management. They adhere to the Law on Social Welfare and to the Decision on Extended Social Rights issued by the Municipality. The implementation conditions and financial resources and modes are defined by the Decision on Social Housing in Supportive Environment as an extended right in the field of social welfare. Being the owner of the apartments and buildings, the Municipality is responsible for regular building maintenance. Through this Decision, a long-term financial sustainability is achieved.

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Project Description General information Main project aim(s) The primary project purpose is the integration of the most vulnerable citizens through the provision of adequate housing solutions. The project beneficiaries are refugees, internally displaced persons, the Roma, and returnees, accommodated in collective centers or other inadequate forms of accommodation, as well as homeless local population. Main project features The SHSE project is an attempt at providing a sustainable housing solution for the vulnerable people who – mostly in a combination with economic problems – do not have necessary social skills and competences required for proactive existence to organize a self-reliant independent life. The role of the SHSE service is not only providing housing solutions, but it is also an important instrument for facilitating social inclusion. Apart from helping the socially disadvantaged to meet their housing needs, SHSE contributes toward an inclusive and integrated society by creating an environment that assists specific target groups in improving their life opportunities. The project has two main components: 1. The construction of social housing units; 2. Creating a “supportive environment”.

SHSE buildings in Belgrade, Vranje and Smederevo

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1 | The construction of social housing units For architects, planners and developers, it was a challenge to create a living space that would foster solidarity, communication and inclusion. The newly built municipality-owned apartments differ in size and accommodate one to six persons. Special attention is given to common rooms - common living rooms, laundries, terraces and outdoor space (gardens, patios, etc.). These are the central spots for social contact and communication among the inhabitants and with their neighborhood. The buildings fit into their surrounding, and are close to traffic networks and public transport. The goal is to create a neighborhood that would take pride in its buildings. Special care is taken that: a. Apartment standards correspond to the average housing quality in the country, in order to avoid stigmatization and social segregation; b. The projects are developed within the framework of the city’s overall urban planning strategy. The buildings are integrated into the urban tissue, placed among other residential buildings and have appropriate access to transport and other public services; c. Lifetime Building Standards which secure the building adaptability to the needs of the aging population are respected and introduced into the building practice in Serbia. Due attention is given to the needs of the people with disabilities. The ground floor is barrier-free and these apartments are fully accessible. 2 | Creating a “Supportive Environment” Establishing a socially “supportive environment” is a continuous process, composed of a set of services provided by the Host Family, Centre for Social Work and Local Self-Government – the three project pillars. • The Host Family is a socially vulnerable family with work capacity. It lives together with other families in the building and, by sharing everyday activities, provides them with daily assistance of a good neighbor. It facilitates the integration within the new social environment and the development of good-neighborly relations among tenants, it nurtures positive atmosphere in the building and mutual respect among the tenants and the neighborhood. It is a catalyst of socialization, it supports the tenants’ initiatives, mediates in conflicts, encourages dialogue and supports group activities of the tenants and the neighborhood. It encourages the development of solidarity and self-reliance. • The Center for Social Work is the fundamental unit of the social welfare system in Serbia and each municipality has one. The Center renders professional services in the field of social protection and manages the buildings for social housing in supportive environment. The Center monitors the work of the host family and is responsible for its training. It defines tailored support to the needs of each tenant and stimulates the conditions for independent life within community. • The Local Self-Government is responsible for financing the service and is the key guarantee for its long-term sustainability. From its own budget, the local self-government provides the funds for different subventions, in accordance with its own capacities and concrete needs – the funds for human resources engaged in the provision of service, capacity building programmes and subventions. It is also responsible for the long-term maintenance of the buildings.

landscape decoration joint activity (the beneficiares, municipality and CSW representatives, and HC team) Kovin, 2012

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The roles and obligations of the three project pillars are precisely defined in the Guidebook on SHSE, developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, in cooperation with Housing Center. Main groups benefiting from the project The beneficiaries of the project are socially vulnerable citizens of Serbia, mainly refugees, the internally displaced, the Roma, individuals and families accommodated in collective centers or inadequate private accommodation. They are all homeless, according to ETHOS typology. The long period of accommodation in collective centres leads to a dependency syndrome, or so-called “collective center syndrome”, which blocks the initiative and coping mechanisms. Main groups benefiting from this Project live in the situation characterized by unsatisfactory living conditions coupled with social exclusion and poverty. As a consequence of this combination of high vulnerability and poverty level, the long period of exclusion, and difficult living conditions, many of these families are in need not only of a housing solution but also of additional support in the process of social integration. According to the survey conducted by Housing Center and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia in 2009, an average SHSE beneficiary is undereducated, underemployed, living in a small family(with the number of single persons on the rise), without working capacity, of Serbian or Roma nationality. He/she has health problems (22%), disability (8%), old age (18%) or is a single parent (11%). In 2009, about 91% of the project beneficiaries came from different collective centers and they reflect a typical profile of the collective center residents in Serbia. The project beneficiaries belong to one of the following groups: • self-supporting single parents and their children; • elderly persons, individuals and couples, capable of independent living; • other categories of particularly vulnerable individuals and families – socially and financially vulnerable families that, due to health problems, disability or a chronic disease of a family member cannot ensure decent living conditions; • victims of sex and gender based violence Today, a total of 2,643 highly vulnerable people are project beneficiaries in 42 municipalities in different regions of Serbia. They enjoy independent life and are supported by local communities. About 80% of beneficiaries, or 2,114 persons, are refugees/IDPs from collective centers, while 20% are socially vulnerable persons and families from local population (529 persons). Current state and future plans Since 2003 the project has been continuously growing. Its implementation is still ongoing and its capacities are planned to rise in the years to come. Beside 1,014 units constructed in 42 municipalities, additional 220 units have already been allocated and planned to be realized in the next two years within the EU IPA 2012 funds which are intended for the final closure of the collective centers. In addition, the ongoing Regional Housing Programme (RHP), whose aim is to terminate the refugee crisis in the region, plans to contribute with additional SHSE units. The RHP will offer to the municipalities to choose between two housing solutions to be constructed within the programme – social housing for rent and purchase, or SHSE. Several municipalities have already chosen SHSE. The SHSE project will be the “final piece” in not only the closure of the collective centers in Serbia but in terminating the refugee crisis in Serbia as well. The situation which commenced in 1993 will finally come to its end. Over time, the project has also proven to be an adequate response to the housing needs of excluded Roma population. The Roma-related housing programmes that are planned to be implemented within the next few years in Serbia will consider the possibility of offering the SHSE support to vulnerable (and homeless) Roma families accommodated in substandard and informal settlements around Serbia.

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IMPLEMENTED SHSE PROJECTS 2003-2014 No.

Municipality / Town

No. of flats

Year

1a 1b 2 3 4a 4b 4c 5 6 7 8 9 10 11a 11b 11c 12 13a 13b 14 15 16a 16b 16c 17 18a 18b 19a 19b 19c 19d 20a 20b 21 22a 22b 23 24 25 26 27a 27b 28a 28b 29 30a 30b 31a 31b 32 33a 33b 34 35 36a 36b 37a 37b 38 39 40 41 42

Apatin Apatin Bač Bajina Bašta Belgrade / Rakovica Belgrade VML Belgrade VML Bela Palanka Blace Bujanovac Valjevo Velika Plana Vlasotince / Crna Trava Vranje Vranje Vranje Vrbas Gadžin Han Gadžin Han Guča / Lučani Doljevac Zaječar Zaječar Zaječar Jagodina Kladovo Kladovo Kragujevac Kragujevac Kragujevac Kragujevac Kraljevo Kraljevo Kruševac Kovin Kovin Kuršumlija Leskovac Loznica Medveđa Negotin Negotin Niš Niš Novi Sad Pančevo Pančevo Paraćin Paraćin Požega Temerin Temerin Petrovac na Mlavi Prijepolje Rača Rača Smederevo Smederevo Sremska Mitrovica Surdulica Topola Užice Šabac

12 12 12 13 24 20 40 8 12 20 12 16 12 20 20 20 13 4 15 12 10 16 16 10 12 17 8 14 12 25 15 30 20 10 15 15 12 20 13 8 20 13 13 28 13 30 15 12 17 12 26 20 20 13 12 15 20 20 34 8 10 16 12

2003 2003 2004 2005 2004 2012 2012 2012 2009 2014 2004 2009 2005 2007 2009 2011 2005 2009 2013 2005 2010 2008 2010 2013 2008 2012 2014 2004 2005 2007 2011 2005 2012 2010 2009 2011 2009 2009 2005 2009 2009 2011 2005 2007 2005 2004 2014 2004 2009 2003 2005 2010 2009 2009 2009 2014 2009 2011 2009 2009 2011 2011 2011

TOTAL

20

Donor SDC Local self-government SDC SDC SDC BPRM European Union BPRM European Union European Union SDC European Union SDC UNHCR European Union European Union SDC European Union European Union SDC European Union UNHCR European Union European Union EAR BPRM European Union SDC UNDP EAR European Union SDC European Union German government European Union European Union European Union European Union SDC European Union European Union European Union SDC EAR SDC SDC European Union SDC German government SDC SDC Slovak Aid UNHCR Divac foundation European Union European Union European Union European Union European Union European Union German government European Union European Union

1014

Housing Center | Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life

Implementation SDC / Housing Center Local self-government SDC / Housing Center SDC / Housing Center SDC / Housing Center UNHCR / Housing Center UNHCR DRC ASB UNHCR SDC / Housing Center DRC SDC / Housing Center Intersos Housing Center Housing Center SDC / Housing Center ASB UNHCR SDC / Housing Center Intersos Housing Center Intersos UNHCR EP DRC DRC SDC / Housing Center UNDP Housing Center Group 484 SDC / Housing Center UNHCR ASB DRC Housing Center ASB Housing Center SDC / Housing Center ASB Housing Center Housing Center SDC / Housing Center Housing Center SDC / Housing Center SDC / Housing Center DRC SDC / Housing Center ASB SDC / Housing Center SDC / Housing Center Local self-government Housing Center Housing Center DRC DRC Housing Center UNHCR / Housing Center IOM ASB ASB ASB IOM

Total no. of beneficiaries 27 28 24 30 56 61 105 18 35 49 26 54 30 75 58 51 41 6 30 32 32 49 46 28 38 41 19 28 23 110 44 81 42 23 28 27 20 52 32 15 62 39 29 85 32 77 32 26 24 29 67 40 43 24 37 43 68 65 93 22 28 28 36

2643

% of Roma population

75.50% 27.8% 10,7% 6.9% 27.5%

26.5% 8.7% 35.0%

8.2% 4.5%

3.1% 33.3%

34.1%

15.6% 37.5%

18.6% 14.7% 10.7% 10.8%

11.1%

7.70%


Financial information Capital costs Since the beginning of the project in 2003, approximately EUR 20 million have been invested and 1,014 flats constructed and equipped. The cost of the construction land, and the costs of continuous social support provided by the local self-governments upon the completion of the buildings are not included in this amount. International donor organisations bear 90% of the capital cost, while remaining 10% is usually cofinanced by municipalities, other local institutions and different bilateral donors. The Government of Serbia planned to take part in the full project financing from the National Investment Fund in 2009, but this project was not realized. The initial participation of the municipalities is approximately 25% of the value of the donated amount, or even higher, since they are providing the construction land for free and the required infrastructural connections. In addition, the municipalities bearing the costs of support programmes and services along the project lifecycle, which vary from one municipality to another. Local community, i.e. municipality, is the key guarantee for the project sustainability. It is the owner of the buildings and apartments and has numerous roles in this project: 1. It grants the construction land equipped with the necessary infrastructure for the building construction and is situated within urbanized tissue, in a developed area, near public institutions and services; 2. It provides urban planning and technical documentation for project elaboration, day-to-day supervision during the construction works and regular maintenance of the building; 3. It organizes a transparent public beneficiary selection; 4. It adopts the Decision on Social Housing in Supportive Environment as an extended right in the field of social welfare at local level, defining the conditions for its utilization and financing resources and means. The buildings and apartments are owned by municipalities. They are intended for the accommodation of the socially most vulnerable citizens and cannot be sold to tenants. The municipality is responsible for regular building maintenance. By issuing the municipal Decision on the Extended Social Rights, the long-term financial sustainability is achieved.

SHSE building in Negotin, 2012

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Sources of current and future revenue In their endeavor to support the termination of the protracted refugee situation in Southeastern Europe, many international donors, primarily the European Union, are still the main project financing agents. The EU-funded programme IPA 2012 has already contracted additional 220 units for the closure of the collective centers. Additional units for vulnerable refugees in private accommodation will be financed from the Regional Housing Programme in the next five years. The Government of Serbia announced its plans to finance several SHSE projects from its own budget as well, through the National Investment Plan. There is a possibility that the core financing will be taken over by the municipalities or other local or national institutions, once the financial situation in the country is more stable or when favourable loans are more accessible. “…. the highest officials in municipalities (mayors and members of the councils) expressed a high appreciation of the Project and SHSE program itself… and expressed their readiness to repeat this kind of project. During the interview, the Mayor of Vranje was so convinced of the qualities of the SHSE programme that he even considered the option of taking a favourable loan for a new social housing construction in order to solve the housing problems of the poor and vulnerable”13. 1

Sources of current and future funding for the organisation Housing Center is currently focusing its activities on the implementation of two EU-funded SHSE projects and is managing the construction of 60 apartments for vulnerable displaced populations and the Roma residing in informal settlements. Housing Center will be further engaged in advocacy issues, promoting the right to decent housing for all vulnerable groups and proposing different projects for improving their housing conditions.

SHSE building in Petrovac na Mlavi, 2010 13 Mojović, Ð. (2010), Evaluation of the IPA2007 Project Implemented by UNHCR in Cooperation with Housing Center, UNHCR, Belgrade, p 16

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Social Aspects Social sustainability Social Housing in Supportive Environment is a dynamic service whose results depend to a great extent on the imagination and initiative of the Centers for Social Work managing this service, the Host Families, as well as on the beneficiaries for whom this service is intended.14 The key project feature is a continuous provision of different support measures to the beneficiaries by their local community, Center for Social Work and Host Family, in order to activate their potentials and enable them to live independently and actively participate in community life. 1

Good practice examples identified so far include many different initiatives coming from both SHSE beneficiaries and their neighbours. Common rooms are often used for meetings, trainings, joint activities and similar purposes. In the City of Kragujevac, for example, special programs organized in the common living rooms are ongoing for the beneficiaries, such as: • Psycho-sociological support • Learning assistance and computer courses for children • Employment assistance – mediation and trainings intended for the beneficiaries with working ability but without work and those who have a job but whose employment is not registered. The response is excellent. The first results will become visible very soon. Computer training courses are delivered by Boban Stepić (21), a graduate in Information Technology, internally displaced person and tenant in the building, unemployed, engaged by the Center for Social Work on a service contract. Assistance in learning and mastering the curriculum for children is provided by Anka (24), a graduate in Chemistry, and Natalija, both beneficiaries of SHSE. Boško Janjić, an internally displaced person, a teacher for junior classes, also tenant in one of the buildings, long time out of work, has been engaged by the Center for Social Work to organize daycare for the children in one of the buildings. For a few hours every day, the children are taught good manners, they have drawing or singing lessons, and activities alike. The children participate in all these workshops. “....That is why the computer course organized by the Center for Social Work down in the common living room is as good as gold for us. ... I say, let them be safe and sound and they can study – not to suffer like us one day. There are a lot of Roma children whose parents are illiterate and they have nobody to help them, so that this means a lot to especially them. “(Biljana Radovanović, host family, Kragujevac)

consultation with CSW professionals in Novi Sad, 2005

joint activities in the common room

14 Timotijević, M. (2012), “Centers for Social Work and the New Social Welfare Service – Social Housing in Supportive Environment“, Aktuelnosti 1-2, The Social Protection Professionals Association of Serbia, Belgrade, pp 84-94

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In line with the Law on Social Welfare, the beneficiaries can assert different social rights: monthly family financial support, one-time financial assistance, caregiver’s benefit, the benefit for care and assistance with housework, daycare, clubs for children and the elderly; soup kitchen, informing and advising, psychological support, and others. The SHSE beneficiaries assert these rights, sometimes directly addressing the Center for Social Work and sometimes through the interventions of professional CSW services upon stating the beneficiaries’ needs in situ. „There is such a wide range of services offered that it could be rightfully claimed that no service possibly needed by the beneficiaries of this type of housing is left unavailable to them.“ (Pančevo, a social worker in CSW)15 1

Involvement of the residents During the course of the project development, increasingly more attention has been given to participatory involvement of its beneficiaries. The residents have been consulted in several phases during project implementation: 1. Identifying a solution for the closure of collective centers Interviews with beneficiaries on the type of a housing solution that would be desirable for them after they leave the collective center, taking into consideration the family vulnerability in planning their future life. 2. Developing an architectural design Participatory meetings with the beneficiaries to discuss the their perception of living in an apartment and what it entails, bearing in mind all project limitations. 3. Establishing a supportive environment Beneficiaries have been included in a series of capacity building workshops on the quailities of a good host, helping and encouraging, solving conflicts in an amicable manner, and the ways of establishing a dialogue.

consultations with beneficiaries regarding architectural design

15 Vujošević, M. & Žarković, B. (2009), Social Housing in Supportive Environment: Research concerning the Achieved Project Results 2003-2009, Hausing Centar, Belgrade, p. 33.

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Environmental aspects The SHSE buildings are thermally insulated and energy-efficient. Whenever possible, they have remote natural gas central heating installed. Local construction materials are used. The building quality complies with the construction standards in the country. New recently adopted regulations on the energy efficiency will increasingly influence high energy performance of the buildings. The environmental impact of the project is significant since it helped the closure of the collective centers in which project beneficiaries used to live for years. The collective centers’ facilities were badly insulated, built of old material, energy inefficient, and they were the sources of CO2 emissions. Originally planned to be short-term temporary shelters, the collective centers were improvised in old abandoned school and agricultural buildings, or gym halls and factories which had been out of function for many years. Although it was not planned, the closure of these collective centers positively influenced the protection of environment.

SHSE building in Bajina BaĹĄta, 2005

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Economic aspects Housing affordability and/or accessibility In the absence of efficient social housing policies in the country, all citizens, including the most vulnerable, are forced to find their housing solutions under open market conditions. In this situation, due to their extreme poverty and exclusion, the SHSE target groups are unable to acquire a housing solution. Therefore, the project significantly increased their access to decent housing. Employment and/or income generation The project does not directly address the employment and income generation issues. A large number of project beneficiaries are persons that are incapable of work – the elderly, disabled persons, and children regularly attending school. They live on their pensions and disability allowances or depend on the social allowance provided by local self-government. However, indirectly, as part of services provided to project beneficiaries, the Center for Social Work places a special emphasis on the support in providing work-capable tenants with employment, which is a challenge itself since the unemployment rate in Serbia is very high, being the highest among the countries in the region. Beneficiaries’ social integration entails higher employment prospects as well. Through the relations and communication established by being a parrt of community life, the work-capable beneficiaries make contacts that help them find employment more easily, which consequently diminishes potential discrimination and exclusion rate.

SHSE building - affordable housing for vulnerable categories

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Architectural desigN The SHSE project called attention to the question of social housing design in Serbia and its relation towards the promotion of values that SHSE project stands for. It offered a new language to the architecture of social housing buildings in Serbia and proved the importance of good design for the affirmation of the program and promotion of its ideas. SHSE design strongly contributed to the positive recognition of its dwellers and program itself. The buildings have also garnered positive feelings, appreciation and the sense of pride among their tenants and municipal representatives. The Main Award of the 34th Salon of Architecture in Belgrade was given to the SHSE building in Sremska Mitrovica – the project implemented by the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) in 2012. The Belgrade International Week of Architecture 2011 hosted a thematic exhibition on the architecture of SHSE in Serbia. The Czech magazine for architecture ERA 21 devoted its 6th issue to the architecture of social housing in Serbia and gave special attention to the SHSE projects implemented by Housing Center. It emphasized the role of social responsibility in architectural profession and discussed the „privilege architects get since the work they do on social housing projects enables them to believe that their work contributes to a better society”.16 1

16

Kovačević, I. (2013), “Housing Center for Better Housing“ ERA 21, No 6: Forms of Social Housing – Serbia, Brno.

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housing conditions in collective centers in Serbia

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Barriers The implementation of the SHSE project has encountered a number of barriers. Those have been chiefly linked to the following issues: Absence of laws and social housing policies in Serbia With the collapse of socialist political system and mass privatization of social housing stock, the market became the only mechanism of allocation. As market is not successful at integrating the most vulnerable, the need for developing a new social housing system emerged. However, this process of creating a new strategic and legal framework was running very slowly due to the lack of political will and resources for the construction of a new stock. In the meantime, the absence of efficient housing policy and strategies at national level resulted in many citizens being forced to look for their housing solution most commonly through illegal self-help strategies. In this institutional vacuum, it was required to create a new institutional set-up for the implementation of the SHSE project, which led to the cooperation with social welfare system. During as early as the first phase of the project, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy entered into extensive reform processes and decentralization. The SHSE project requires decentralized environment and its development has been simultaneous with the transformation of the social welfare system, gathering positive practical experiences to support the change. Mental Barriers 1 - The Collective Center Syndrome Refugees and IDPs in Serbia have been living in a protracted environment for years. Long-term accommodation in collective centers (some families have been living there for more than 15 years) has made a strong impact on a considerable part of this population. They tend to lose their personal initiative, develop a dependency syndrome and become extremely dependent on external support. Their capacities to actively search for durable solutions outside of collective centers have been undermined. This creates a gap between them and the local community even after they move into the SHSE apartments, a gap that needs to be addressed and carefully reduced. The participatory involvement of the beneficiaries in the process of project planning and implementation and the presence of the Centers for Social Work have created a mutual understanding and a sense of partnership. It helped to make a shift from a dependent to active personality capable of grasping life opportunities and becoming a productive member of society again. It often took more than two years to build a sense of community between the newly settled inhabitants and their neighbours. Mental Barriers 2 – The State of Mind All changes, especially those regarding the system and the creation of a new unit within the system, require psychological adaptation and acceptance of the change. With regard to this fact, the project implementation came across certain obstacles. It was important that the change of the state of mind of the potential stakeholders involved: • The willingness of the politicians to jointly enter the creation of a new social care service, • The acceptance of highly demanding financial responsibilities by local governments, granting expensive construction land, providing the necessary infrastructure, issuing the Decision on Extended Social Rights, and securing continuous financing during and after the project. • The Centers for Social Work accepting a new role in establishing innovative support services for the most vulnerable, in line with the changing system of social welfare, and encouraging the beneficiaries to develop a proactive approach to creating new life opportunities.

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We learned that not all individuals, primarily in the public sector, are easily inspired to allow changes to take place, to transform their everyday practice and acquire new knowledge and skills. We strongly believe that this is an issue of great importance, since ultimately only highly self-motivated people can substantially contribute to changes. We owe gratitude to the Centers for Social Work and local self-governments which have bravely and enthusiastically ventured into developing a new social welfare service in Serbia, and contributed creatively to establishing an inclusive society, which is what Social Housing in Supportive Environment stands for. Mental Barriers 3 – Public Ownership and Mistrust in Institutions The SHSE project neither has a background nor tradition in the housing provision practice in Serbia. After the massive public housing privatization in the 1990s, less than 2% of the housing fund is publicly owned17.1The majority of citizens in Serbia perceive apartment ownership as the only security guarantee, and the lack of trust in institutions is widespread. For that reason, the psychological barriers in accepting the new municipality-owned housing model have been registered during project implementation. Budgetary constraints Housing construction projects are very expensive, and their results are not immediately visible. Compared to an average income, the construction cost of an apartment square meter in Serbia is extremely high, even in the case of non-profit construction. In the time of ongoing crisis and economic instability in Serbia, it is a great challenge both for private persons and for the Government to allocate the required financial means. For that reason, the projects of this kind have often been considered “luxurious”, especially compared to other services, and in the context of high poverty rates and a great need for social support services. The project has sometimes been referred to as unnecessarily expensive, because a lot of attention is given to common rooms which are viewed as redundant and cost-ineffective. One of the objections was that this project provides a housing solution to a comparatively small number of the socially vulnerable, considering their actual number and the need for these types of projects in Serbia. Time-consuming project implementation The administrative preparation for the two pilot projects was a lenghty one, and so was the construction of the buildings. It took almost two years (2000-2002) for the first administrative setup. The first construction works started in late 2002, and were completed in spring 2003. The results were not immediately tangible. It took several years before the first project results were acknowledged. In the first years, the project was successfully implemented owing to the dedication and the conviction of the project partners and its first donor, the Government of Switzerland, which strongly believed in its legitimacy and the necessity of finding solutions for the socially vulnerable in Serbia. The first project results became visible only after a few years. Regular monitoring and external evaluations confirmed the benefits of the project, after which other partners – municipalities and donors – began taking part in further concept development. Political constraints The project development in Serbia has also encountered various obstacles throughout the years which were intertwined with political instability, frequent shifts in power and demotion of politicians who act as project partners, conflicts of political parties and the parties interested in the allocated land, etc.

17

30

First National Report on Social Inclusion, Government of Serbia, 2011, p 217

Housing Center | Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life


Lessons learned The development of the Project yielded invaluable experiences, and the following conclusions were drawn: Importance of integrated support: Due to extreme vulnerability of the SHSE target groups, providing them only with housing is not enough to facilitate their successful social inclusion. By providing both good quality and secure housing, and continual, long term and individually tailored support for their inclusion in the systems of education, health care, social welfare and job market, the SHSE model enables integrated and simultaneous impact on the causes of social exclusion at all levels, and by doing so it is achieving far more significant results. Through successful implementation of the SHSE programme over the years it became clear that integrated support is the most adequate and, at the same time, the most effective model for persons and families who are in the position of multiple vulnerability. Spatially and socially integrated housing: By constructing the buildings on high quality locations and including the beneficiaries with different ethnic and cultural background, the SHSE model helps to fight frequent spatial segregation of extremely vulnerable groups and stimulates intercultural integration. Importance of learning through continual monitoring and evaluation: Since SHSE is integrated into social welfare services defined by local legislation, there is no uniform evaluation or monitoring practice that would enable the accumulation of lessons learned and empirically substantiated planning of further development. The research conducted in 2009 by Housing Center and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy yielded significant insights and guidelines for further development, which should be a continuous practice. More general rules enable greater flexibility in providing support: The SHSE service is defined by the Law on Social Welfare, while the decisions adopted at local level in each municipality providing the service further specify the terms of its utilization. However, the practice has so far demonstrated that these decisions would most commonly impose only general terms of utilization and leave enough room for reshaping an adapting the provision of the service to the needs of actual families and the different stages which they experience over time regarding their need for this service. This practice ensured a high level of efficacy in the services provided. Intensifying investments at the beginning enables long term and sustainable results later: SHSE model has specific dynamics in terms of the resources required. The investments need to be most intensive in the initial period since almost all beneficiaries require support at the beginning. The host family trainings and professionals working on support provision are also most extensive at early stages. Over time, as beneficiaries are strengthening their capacities and gaining more independence, owing to the services applied, most families need support only occasionally. It is important that municipal authorities are acquainted with these dynamics in order to ensure full financial support for all initial costs.

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host familly from the SHSE building in NiĹĄ, 2009

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Innovation AND IMPACT Key innovative features of the project Social Housing in Supportive Environment is an innovative and comprehensive approach to social housing. In addition to helping the vulnerable to solve their housing situation, it contributes to the development of an inclusive society by creating an environment which assists different vulnerable groups to improve their living conditions. The key innovative aspect of this project is the role of the Host Family. It can be said that the institution of a Host Family introduced through this project is an attempt at institutionalizing solidarity. The Host Family’s main responsibility is to be available to others, to encourage communication and coexistence, and to promote the values of solidarity and unity. Contrary to common expectations, the role of the Host Family is not monitoring, cleaning or maintenance – its role is much more complex and sophisticated. By sharing everyday life with other tenants, it provides them with neighbourly help. Host Families are communicative and demonstrate a generally positive disposition, they are tolerant, and not pursuing influence. These very criteria are applied in host family selection. The evaluation provided by the Centers for Social Work experts is of key importance during selection process. There is a direct and proportional relation between the host family’s personality, i.e., the quality of their work, and achieved quality of interpersonal relationships in the building. “Ever since we were provided with the accommodation in Pantelej as a host family, our main activities have been directed toward arranging the conditions for integration of beneficiaries. From the very beginning, a lot of work had to be done as the building was quite busy and lively, and all families needed my support in being integrated within the local community. Some people used to live in rather poor living conditions and they have been through a lot. That means that their adaptation to normal living conditions is very difficult. It is necessary to talk to them as much as possible, never with a raised voice or shouting, but in a humane, neighbourly manner… We are here for one another, we are the closest to each other, and we will be here through good and bad times.” (Miroslav Ristić, host family, Pantelej, Niš)181

18 Vujošević, M., Žarković, B. (2009), Social Housing in Supportive Environment: The Research on the Achieved Project Results 2003-2009, Housing Center, Belgrade.

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Impact of the project • Impact on direct beneficiaries In 2009 Housing Center, together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia, initiated and conducted a comprehensive research on the impact of the SHSE project on the improvement of living conditions and social inclusion of its beneficiaries. The research191 was carried out in 21 municipalities and towns in Serbia in which the project had been implemented by 2009. The research findings confirmed that the SHSE project has facilitated the integration and social inclusion of the most vulnerable residents of the collective centers: • 81% of accommodated refugees obtained Serbian citizenship, • 46% of the beneficiaries (those that were in need) have started receiving social assistance, • 47% of the beneficiaries are additionally subsidized by the municipalities in covering the costs of living • 32% of the beneficiaries with working capacity found employment after moving into the buildings, 50% of them with the support of the Centers for Social Work • 100% children aged 7-19 accommodated in SHSE buildings are regularly attending primary or secondary school. This refers to Roma children as well; 39 out of 169 children aged 19-25 are university students. • 7.7% of the beneficiaries are the Roma and no problems caused by different ethnic origin of beneficiaries have been registered. (The number of Roma families increased over time. In the municipalities which had Roma beneficiaries among those accommodated in collective centers they now account for 19.3%, which corresponds to the share of the Roma in the overall IDP population in Serbia). • All the beneficiaries have been treated as the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and they have been provided with a guaranteed level of financial security. The external evaluation of the project in 2010 confirmed that “the majority of the interviewed beneficiaries are very satisfied with obvious and significant improvements in their lives. SHSE will crucially help them to restore basic human dignity and will enable them to integrate into local community. The mixture of age, compositions of households, different levels of vulnerability and previous mutual acquaintanceship seem to ensures a certain level of solidarity”.202 „It means a lot to people to live like everyone else, not as refugees, in collective centers.“ (Miroslav Ristić, host family, Niš)21 3

beneficiaries in front of the SHSE building in Leskovac, 2010 19 Ibid 20 Mojović, Ð. (2010), Evaluation of the IPA2007 Project Implemented by UNHCR in Cooperation with Housing Center, UNHCR, Belgrade, p 22 21 Vujošević, M., Žarković, B. (2009), Social Housing in Supportive Environment: The Research on the Achieved Project Results 2003-2009, Housing Center, Belgrade, p 37

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Broader impact 1. Impact on the closure of collective centers Despite the fact that SHSE programme is decentralised from the aspect of welfare policy, it strongly contributes to the national strategic goal – closure of the collective centers. Thanks to this project, numerous collective centers have been closed or their closure process supported. At least 80 % of the 2,643 persons living in the SHSE buildings today, i.e. 2,114 individuals or 811 families, are former residents of the closed collective centers. 2. Impact on the Social Welfare Policy changes On December, 1, 2005, The Government of Serbia adopted the Social Protection Development Strategy in Serbia that systematically anticipates the development of different types of services which are within the jurisdiction of the local self-governments. By adopting this Strategy, the Government confirmed its resolution to complete the process of decentralization and deinstitutionalization in the field of social welfare by the end of 2008. The development of the SHSE project went in parallel to the Strategy elaboration, which was very useful for gathering practical experiences, and it was an opportunity to determine the concrete indicators of changes. 3. Impact on the Social Housing Policy changes Even though the SHSE model belongs to the system of social welfare it has certainly set an example useful for the development of social housing policies as well. First of all, the model has developed the selection criteria which help distinguish between the beneficiaries who are only in need of support in obtaining adequate housing under market conditions, and those who require additional support services. In the context of the social housing reform, the growing SHSE practise has also set standards regarding design, functionality and space which were used as a platform and reference point in later development of the legal framework for social housing. “The experience of this project brought attention to the issue of social housing in Serbia for socially vulnerable groups, including domicile population, and it has certainly contributed to resolving some issues in the Law on Social Housing. Owing to these projects, local selfgovernments started recognising more and more their role and responsibility in providing for socially vulnerable populations.” (Ljiljana Lučić, State Secretary, The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia)221 4. Impact on the architecture of social housing buildings The Project offered a new architectural language to social housing architecture in Serbia. The SHSE buildings and their design were regularly displayed at the Salon of Architecture, a traditional and distinguished annual exhibition of Serbian architecture. In 2012, the Main Award of the 34th Salon was given to the SHSE building in Sremska Mitrovica – a project implemented by the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM). In 2011, thematic exibition within the Belgrade International Week of Architecture BINA 2011 was dedicated to the architecture of SHSE buildings and projects implemented by Housing Center. “The design of all four SHSE buildings, their form and appearance represent a very distinctive concept of urban architecture which fits into the given residential environment and with the existing surrounding buildings… All the interviewees from municipalities and local institutions perceive these buildings as among the most beautiful in their towns and are proud of them… This proves how important good design is for programme affirmation”.232

22 Ibid, p 3 23 Mojović, Ð. (2008) Evaluation of the IPA2007 Project Implemented by UNHCR in Cooperation with Housing Center, UNHCR, Belgrade, p 29

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Changes of local or national government policy as a result of the project The project offers an innovative approach to housing for particularly vulnerable groups. It was a milestone in the official policy regarding the housing projects for internally displaced population. In 2007, it was the first project of alternative housing solutions for IDPs in Serbia. The projects implemented so far have confirmed an enormous need for housing solutions of this type for vulnerable population in Serbia. The New National Social Housing Strategy, adopted in 2012, suggests that “the households receiving social assistance do not have sufficient funds at their disposal for paying rent. Due to this, they should be directed toward the housing programmes in “supportive environment”, which are being implemented in Serbia for several years and which represent a form of social inclusion.“241The Action Plan of the Strategy suggests the SHSE model as a solution for the homeless, children without parents, the victims of domestic violence, refugees and internally displaced persons, returnees upon the Readmission Agreement, the households residing in informal settlements which have to be resettled, and alike. The National Strategy for Improvement of the Position of the Roma Population252and its updated Action Plan for 2012-2014 proposes in Article 2.6.2 the construction and provision of housing flats within social welfare programmes – the SHSE, as an adequate solution for the resettlement of the informal Roma settlements, and the most vulnerable Roma families. Monitoring and evaluation In February 2005, SDC conducted an external evaluation of its Humanitarian Aid Programme in the region, including the evaluation of the SHSE project. The Evaluation Report confirmed that “the concept of Social Housing in Supportive Environment helped the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy to develop a new, de-institutionalized, decentralized and cost-effective approach to the care for the elderly and persons with disabilities – or the vulnerable in general, since the approach has manifold purposes. The Social Housing in Supportive Environment approach involves a high acceptcance by the beneficiaries and the municipalities...The concept of the Social Housing in Supportive Environment project was an innovative and highly suitable answer to the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the collective centers’ residents showing a rising tendency towards special vulnerable groups. In Serbia and Montenegro the approach has had a considerable impact on the country’s preparation of social housing policy and further implementation”.263 In December 2010, in order to assess the success of the project activities for the purposes of the final project report, UNHCR organized an external evaluation of IPA 2007 project implemented by UNHCR and Housing Center. The evaluation stated that the municipality representatives highly approved of this concept and were satisfied with the project results.

single-parent from the SHSE building in Leskovac, 2010 24 National Strategy on Social Housing, Art. 5.3 25 National Strategy for Improvement of the Position of the Roma Population, 2014, Art. 2.6.26 26 Herrmann, H., Rüegg, E. (2005) External evaluation of SDC DuSo Program Balkans on behalf of the SDC Humanitarian Aid Europe + CIS Division.

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Key indicators of the project success The project proved to be a sustainable housing solution for the most vulnerable groups in Serbia. There are several indicators of the project success: • The number of the municipalities interested in the SHSE concept development is continuously increasing, despite the costs they have to cover. Even though all municipalities implementing the project bear the costs of the construction land and infrastructure, some were so motivated that they were willing to provide additional financial participation and co-finance the project from their own budget. The municipalities recognized the concept as a solution for all vulnerable groups, not only refugees and IDPs. • The number of units in SHSE, as well as the number of municipalities involved, is continuously increasing. The project will be further developed in the years to come, from the funds of the European Union and the Regional Housing Programmes for refugees. • Further development is justified also by the intention of the European Commission to invest significant financial assets from the European funds (ongoing IPA12 programme) into new capacities for Social Housing in Supportive Environment. • SHSE model was recognized as a good practice within PAIRS project – a two-year regional project which had a mandate to identify successful initiatives and projects aimed at the social inclusion of the Roma and formulate recommendations related to the programming of the European and national funds in the following years. ”This form of providing for vulnerable individuals and families without proper housing, internally displaced persons, refugees, and deprived domicile population, presents such opportunities that we can rightly say that these conditions provide dignified livelihood ...We believe and at the same time suggest that this is how housing should be provided for the deprived citizens, and that the percentage of domicile population should be raised to 50... A disbalance appeared in the domicile community, and domicile citizens believe that they have equal rights to dignified living as each individual and family with the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia.“ (Mira Andrijasević, director, Center for Social Work, Zaječar)271

beneficiary familly from the SHSE building in Niš, 2009

27 Vujošević, M., Žarković, B. (2009), Social Housing in Supportive Environment: The Research on the Achieved Project Results 2003-2009, Housing Center, Belgrade, p 48

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The project weaknesses From 2003 onwards, the Centers for Social Work in 42 municipalities in Serbia bravely ventured into a pioneer project of establishing a new service within the social welfare system, and, since then, they have continuously been designing, exploring and developing it. As the SHSE service is new to the field of social welfare, it will take some time for it to be completely integrated into the legislative system of Serbia. In general, the project is financially intensive and the dynamics of the project dictate that the greatest resources need to be invested at the very beginning of the project in order to construct the housing stock and set up the necessary preconditions (training, HR, etc.) for service provision. Due to the general state of local budgets, this fact can sometimes be a factor contributing to demotivation of local authorities. However, the experience of the municipalities which developed the service is that adequate investment at the beginning ensures long-term and sustainable results in future. The research conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and Housing Center in 2009 confirmed that there are certain aspects of the project which need to be improved: The work of host families should be secured from the municipal budgets Funds should be provided for the work of host families in respective budgets of all local self-governments in all municipalities. It has been proved that the work of the Host Families is of higher quality when they are paid for the services they render. Municipality should pay for the professional work of the Center for Social Work and their diverse support programmes Funds should be allocated to the Centers for Social Work for performing their tasks (funds for the staff and implementation of the necessary programmes) in the respective budgets of all local self-governments. It is a precondition for an efficient implementation of such form of protection since it requires a continuous work and engagement of the Center for Social Work. So far, no special funds have been allocated for those purposes and they have been covered by the regular CSW budget. The development of Social Housing in Supportive Environment achieved until now lays down the foundation for its further systematic improvement. As it has been so far, the project will require efforts to be further modelled.

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Housing Center | Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life


Recognition The project was the finalist of the WHA 2009 competition. Since that time the scope of the project has significantly grown, and project results have become more widely recognized. TV, radio, newspaper articles: The formal openings are the days of celebration and promotion of partnership and they are accompanied by intensive media presentation of the project concept and its outcomes. The openings are an opportunity for public promotion of the project and further advocacy of the SHSE concept principles. High ranking officials often inaugurate the projects: • In December 2004, the project in Pančevo was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia • In April 2012, the project in Vranje was inaugurated by the HE Ambassador of the EU in the Republic of Serbia • In May 2012, the project in Belgrade was inaugurated by the Mayor of Belgrade International and national conferences: 2013, May Social Housing in Supportive Environment as the Good Practice example for Roma Integration, PAIRS (Programmes for the Active Integration/Inclusion of Roma in the Southeast Europe) project conference, Budapest 2012, May Improving the Housing Conditions of the Roma, CAHROM Regional Conference, Skopje 2011, May International Week of Architecture, Towards Sustainable Roma Housing, Belgrade, http://www.bina.rs/2011/12-05.html 2010, October World Summit on Social Housing, The Hague, http://porto.polito.it/2505105/1/ ISHSUM_Report.pdf 2010, February Access to Social and Affordable Housing, UN Habitat Conference, Belgrade 2009, December “Living Like all the Others”, National Conference on Social Housing in Supportive Environment, Kragujevac 2008, October Options and Perspectives of Social Rental Housing in the CEE, Budapest, www.mri.hu 2008, September Support to the Development of Social Services in the Syunik region, Yerevan 2008, February SHSE Workshop, Tbilisi 2006, November SHSE Workshop, Novi Sad 2006, February Collective Centers Knowledge Exchange Workshop, SDC Regional Office for the South Caucasus, Tbilisi 2005, December International Council on Social Welfare, Second Forum of the Black Sea Regional Civil Society, Yerevan 2005, April S-Dev Conference on Sustainable Development, Geneva 2004, November UNECE Conference on Social Housing, Vienna, http://www.europaforum. or.at/site/HomepageUNECE/en/home.htm 2004, November National Conference on Refugees, Belgrade 2004, June SDC Regional DuSo Conference, Bern 2003, November UNDP Conference, Belgrade 2002, Bern SDC Site Planning Workshop, Bern

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Academic and other journals, publications • Kovačević, I. (2013), “Housing Center for Better Housing“ ERA 21, No 6: Forms of Social Housing – Serbia, Brno. • Timotijević, M. (2013), “Social Housing“, Lice ulice, No 017, Belgrade. • Žarković, B. (2013), “Social Housing in Supportive Environment: Support to Dignified Life“ POLIS, Magazine for public policy, No 3, Belgrade. • Timotijević, M. (2012), “Centers for Social Work and the New Social Welfare Service – Social Housing in Supportive Environment“, Aktuelnosti 1-2, The Social Protection Professionals Association of Serbia , Belgrade, ,pp 84-94 • Vujošević, M., Žarković, B. (2010), “Living Like all the Others: Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life, a Guidebook“, Housing Center, Belgrade • Mojović, Dj. (2010), Evaluation of the IPA2007 Project Implemented by UNHCR in Cooperation with Housing Center, UNHCR, Belgrade. • Vujošević, M. (2009), “Social Housing in Supportive Environment“, Glas Centara, No 23, Vrnjačka Banja. • Vujošević, M. & Žarković, B. (2009), Social Housing in Supportive Environment: The Research on the Achieved Project Results 2003-2009, Housing Center, Belgrade. Also featured in: • BINA - The 6th Belgrade International Architecture Week 2011, Housing Center: Social Housing in Supportive Environment, Belgrade. • Kovenc-Vujić, A. (2011), Serbian Architects 2000-2010, Serbian Chamber of Engineers and Belgrade Association of Architects, Belgrade. Visits to the project The projects in Serbia were visited by many international delegations: April 5, 2013 The Delegation of the European Parliament - Committee on Budgets, headed by Mr. Salvador Garriga Polledo, visited the building for Social Housing in Supportive Environment in Kovin. May 17, 2013 Study visit to the building for Social Housing in Supportive Environment in Smederevo, within regional project PAIRS (Programmes for the Active Integration/Inclusion of the Roma in the South-East Europe). September 9, 2012 The Delegation of the Committee of the European Parliament for Southeast Europe, headed by Mr. Edward Kukan, visited the building for Social Housing in Supportive Environment in Kovin. September 29, 2011 Lucija Popovska, Programme Director at Habitat for Humanity International Europe and Central Asia, visited the buildings for Social Housing in Supportive Environment in Smederevo. May 17, 2011 Mark Weeding, executive director of the UK-based charity organisation DISC visited the buildings for Social Housing in Supportive Environment in Smederevo and Kovin November 19, 2008 UNHCR Donor Visit to the buildings of Social Housing in Supportive Environment in Loznica April 13-15, 2008 SDC Knowledge Exchange - consultant Hannes Herrmann December 3-7, 2007 Policy Study Tour, Delegation from Armenia – Ministry of Labuor and Social Policy, Ministry of Urban Development, Town of Kanaker Zeytun, Region Syunik March 25 - 31, 2007 SDC Knowledge Exchange - Armenian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, NGO Mission Armenia February 26-28, 2007 SDC Knowledge Exchange, Armenian architect Baadri Jincharadze December 12, 2006 Policy Study Tour, Delegation from Georgia – Georgian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Town of Tbilisi, Commissariat for Refugees, UNDP Georgia

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Transfer The project experiences have been exchanged and adopted both locally/nationally and internationally: • locally / nationally In Serbia, the project has been implemented in 42 municipalities so far. All the municipalities have issued the Official Decision on Social Housing in Supportive Environment as one of the social welfare rights and defined project financing modes and sources. The Centers for Social Work have undertaken the obligation to manage the project, conduct the host family training and monitor its work and activities. A series of capacity building workshops with the purpose of exchanging experiences and training of the stakeholders was organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and Housing Center. The Centers for Social Work created a network for easier project-related communication with the objective of continual exchange of experiences pertaining to the project and a further the project development. Final beneficiaries and host families participated in the workshops and provided significant input in terms of project enhancement. • internationally Upon the successful results from Serbia, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation introduced the positive experience of Social Housing in Supportive Environment to the countries of the South Caucasus, Armenia and Georgia, as an alternative approach to existing solutions for both housing problems and decentralization of social services. A few study visits from Armenia and Georgia to Serbia were organized with this purpose. Armenia: Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Armenia has experienced several serious shocks, including the devastating earthquake in December 1988, which left one third of the country in ruins. The earthquake was followed by a severe economic hardship, massive uncontrolled privatization of land and housing stock, and an unprecedented inflow of refugees as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh war. During the past few decades the Government of Armenia and different donors have implemented several housing programmes and projects. However, the housing needs in the country continue

beneficiaries from the SHSE building in Armenia, 2008

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country’s development strategy and investment priorities. At the same time, a declining level of social services provision, and the diminished the role of the state in the provision of such services, suggested a necessity for decentralization and improvement of capacities of local service providers. In such situation, the idea of SHSE was introduced to Armenia and immediately gained popularity and momentum. With the support of SDC offices in Caucasus, and in consultation with Housing Center, using the model of SHSE in Serbia, two pilot projects were successfully implemented during 2005-2008. Several groups of project stakeholders from Armenia visited Serbia to learn about the programme and positive experiences. Serbian experience was analyzed and transferred to Armenia, and was adapted to local circumstances. Currently, two SHSE buildings, constructed in the capital of Yerevan and the rural town of Goris shelter about 100 vulnerable tenants. The concept of SHSE proved to be easily applicable in Armenia, and the role of the host family, as it is envisaged by the SHSE concept, entirely corresponds to the local good-neighborly tradition. The SHSE pilot projects initiated a country-wide discussion on housing policies, social housing and decentralization of social services. A draft concept of Social Housing was developed and is currently under consideration by the Government of Armenia. With the support from the SDC, an introductory workshop on decentralized social service provision was held in the Syunik region of Armenia, and it laid the ground for a new model of social services transfer from the state bodies to local organisations. Throughout the process, Armenian partners received support and advice from Serbian colleagues, in particular from Housing Center. The social housing program in Armenia has been greatly influenced by the cooperation between the two countries, the transfer of the best practice from one country to the other and the adaptation to the new circumstances. The pilot projects are planned to be continued and new models of social housing are to be introduced in Armenia soon. Georgia: Compared to Serbia and Armenia, Georgia has a similar experience in sheltering a high number of displaced homeless people. The absence of a social housing policy in the country is visible, the vulnerability of the displaced is also very high and the need for housing solutions provision is urgent. In 2007, the pilot project was introduced to the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi. Barriers: The main barriers preventing the further transfer of this project and/or its approach are: • The lack of tradition and experience in social housing (Armenia) • The lack of professional care service providers (Georgia, Armenia) • Differences in legislation

SHSE building in Georgia, 2008

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Housing Center | Social Housing in Supportive Environment – Support to Dignified Life


Contact Contact point for further information Organisation: Address: Telephone number: Fax number: Email address: Skype: Website address: Contact person:

Housing Center, Housing Development Center for Socially Vulnerable Groups Jaše Prodanovica 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia +381 11 2767258 +381 11 2767258 bzarkovic@housingcenter.org.rs brankicazar www.housingcenter.org.rs Branislava Žarković

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Housing Center | Publication created for the World Habitat Award 2014 2015  

We proudly present publication on Social Housing in Supportive Environment created for applying to World Housing Award 2014/2015

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