Housing poverty in Macedonia

Tackling slums and upgrading old residential buildings
  • 21,905 people served in FY18 21,905 people served in FY18
  • 171 volunteers hosted in FY18 171 volunteers hosted in FY18
  • Projects: home building, energy-efficiency, housing microfinance Projects: home building, energy-efficiency, housing microfinance

We currently have 9 active projects, supporting communities through tailored programmes for the most vulnerable families

We began work in 2004 to alleviate the state of housing poverty in Macedonia. From the outset, we started several projects. Our "Home Improvement Fund" was named among the three most innovative development projects worldwide by the Global Development Network, a World Bank affiliated institution.

A difficult transition

Macedonia has come a long way in its transition from a socialist centrally-planned system to a market economy since its independence in 1991.

However, the country’s integration into the European Union and other international structures has been slow and challenging. About 80,000 households still lack long-term housing solutions, and 12% of the housing stock is substandard.

Read more about energy efficiency in Macedonia

Ghettos and dilapidated buildings

The average age of buildings in Macedonia is 30 years, and because of poor maintenance, about 100,000 units in collective apartment buildings are in need of immediate EE intervention.

Housing conditions are particularly grave for Roma households. The capital city, Skopje, hosts squatter settlements of about 120,000. It has the largest Roma community in Europe, which lives in a ghetto-like environment.

Read more about legalising Roma homes
About 320,000 people, almost 15% of Macedonia’s population, live in illegally constructed buildings.

How we address housing poverty in Macedonia

In line with our commitment to help vulnerable groups, we responded to the current refugee crisis by providing temporary shelter between Macedonia and Greece.

Poverty in Macedonia is such that many families live in overcrowded homes together with parents or grandparents and cannot afford new apartments. To address the need, we’ve started construction of an entire housing complex in Veles, an industrial city in the center of the country.

Home improvements

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We've created various models to reach a greater number of families and improve decaying homes, largely through innovative financial mechanisms.

Our local team, in cooperation with a local microfinance partner, set up a "Home Improvement Fund" offering affordable, short-term home improvement loans. Similar model was applied for the Roma Housing Fund project which is serving the vulnerable Roma communities in five different municipalities on the outskirts of the capital Skopje.

Residential building management

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After the stated controlled mechanisms for maintenance of apartment buildings were abandoned, the decay of homeowners’ organisations in Macedonia has not been addressed until recently. That's why we developed a new service that focuses on improving the management of collective apartment buildings.

The project will work on the 150,000 housing units in collective apartment buildings needing serious management, maintenance and repairs.

Upgrading energy efficienty

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In Macedonia, residential energy consumption is high, unaffordable, environmentally degrading and inefficient. Our team provides low-income families with small loans for minor repairs, such as window or door replacements that will maximise energy efficiency of their homes.

Even these small repairs can contribute towards better living conditions of these families. ‘Green’, atmosphere-friendly homes will lower the heating costs of the families and decrease energy loss significantly which will show especially on the health of the family members during the winter.