Housing poverty in Bulgaria

Roma slums and unsafe homes
  • 5,065 people served in FY18 5,065 people served in FY18
  • 155 volunteers hosted in FY18 155 volunteers hosted in FY18
  • Projects: construction & renovation, microfinance, advocacy Projects: construction & renovation, microfinance, advocacy

We have been actively fighting housing poverty in Bulgaria since 2001.
We run a diverse, innovative programme tailored to meet the local housing need.

Our local team works not only with families and individuals to improve their current housing situation but also to support communities by partnering with community-based social support organisations, adding value to their activities.

The housing need in Bulgaria

During communism, the national government provided families with housing. However once the market economy took hold, the responsibility for housing fell on the local authorities, who have no resources or know-how to deal with this challenge.

As a result, more and more homes need major repairs while many homeowners cannot afford even basic maintenance of their flats

Deteriorating buildings

The EU accession significantly increased the cost of property in Bulgaria, especially in the capital, pricing more and more families out of the market. The majority of Bulgarians own a house or a flat, but they struggle to maintain them.

Many live in big blocks of flats constructed 40-50 years ago that have never been maintained ever since.

The cost of repairing

Maintenance of dilapidated buildings has become a severe challenge for the homeowners, as the structures are rapidly deteriorating.

At the same time, social housing programmes have been cancelled and low-income families have no options to improve their living conditions.

Key facts & figures

  • Population: 7.2 million
  • Urbanisation: 73.9 percent live in cities
  • Life expectancy: 74.4 years
  • Unemployment rate: 11.2%
  • Population living below poverty line: 21%

Fighting poverty & child neglect

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On top of interest-free, short-term financing for home improvements, we also offer urgent housing interventions to socially vulnerable and marginalised families. We work together with local community-based partners and add value to the social support services they offer in the communities.

Our products are leveraged to maximise the effects of interventions designed to address essential aspects such as health care, school attendance, maternity & social skills.

Additional support is provided through financial literacy trainings to help familie develop basic financial skills.

Innovations & social enterprise

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We are working on developing an innovative thermal insulation product made of recycled textiles which will also boost the local market and help create jobs.

The ambition is to develop a product which compares in quality to the most commonly used thermal insulation but is much more affordable, thus providing easier access to the energy-efficiency renovations market to poorer households.

We're also taking part in policy-making to provide support with regards to social housing and energy efficiency - with the aim to help integrate marginalised and vulnerable groups of the population such as the Roma.

Advocacy and coalition building

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Our team has been actively involved in the housing-related policymaking at the national and local levels. For instance, we have led the establishment of a National Coalition for Home Improvements - “Decent Home” - supported by members including corporations, professional chambers, NGOs, associations and municipalities.

We have influenced a number of national legislation, providing social housing opportunities and access to funding for energy efficiency renovations to more than 140,000 people.