The existing housing policies in the three municipalities of Maritsa, Plovdiv and Stara Zagora are inefficient. Maritsa Municipality does not have social housing. Plovdiv Municipality does not plan to build social housing and 170 of the existing buildings are not fit for use. Stara Zagora Municipality plans to build 69 social homes. At the same time hundreds of people are in need of social housing in Maritsa and several thousands in Plovdiv and Stara Zagora. Roma families inhabiting homes built on municipal land live in constant insecurity and fear of eviction and house demolition. This is what happened in the village of Voivodinovo, Maritsa Municipality, on 6.1.2019 when 20 families of 80 people in total, including 30 children, were evicted at -10 degrees and the houses of 3 families were torn down. The project aims to organize an advocacy campaign in the municipalities of Stara Zagora Plovdiv and Maritsa and help reform local policies for building of social housing and provision of plots of land to people and families in dire need. Violation of human rights and the inhuman practice of eviction and demolition should be replaced with a policy providing opportunities and prospects. The project aims at changing the practice in the municipalities of Maritsa, Plovdiv and Stara Zagora and resulting in the adoption of a policy of active building of social housing and providing opportunities to Roma families to buy the plots of land on which their houses are built as well as involving the citizens and authorities from the three municipalities in local civic initiatives under the Direct Citizen Participation in State and Local Government Act. The initiatives will be preceded by an in-depth examination of the situation in each neighbourhood and village in the three municipalities and by reaching the necessary justification and civic participation.
Summary of project results
The project goal was to improve civic participation in solving local problems and changing local policies. In this respect, we had planned to create 6 local civic initiatives in the municipalities of Stara Zagora, Plovdiv and Maritsa.
The most important result of the project is the empowerment of the target groups. To include them, we used the creation of Local Civic Initiatives to submit petitions to the municipalities of Stara Zagora, Plovdiv and Maritsa related to the improvement of housing policies. A total of 60 people took part in the local civic initiatives that took place in the three municipalities. The petitions asked for:
- Regulation of land adjacent to the Roma neighborhoods for sale to the interested candidates for house construction;
- Construction of the necessary street and other infrastructure for the new land plots;
- Through the budget of the Municipality, as well as through funding from the national budget and by applying to the EU Reconstruction Fund to budget and provide funds for the repair of existing and construction of new municipal housing.