Housing poverty in Romania

Tackling unsafe, decaying homes and energy efficiency problems
  • 280 people served in FY18 280 people served in FY18
  • 2,147 volunteers hosted in FY18 2,147 volunteers hosted in FY18
  • Projects: home building & renovation, schools & community centres Projects: home building & renovation, schools & community centres

Our mission to tackle housing poverty in Romania has, for years, been pursued with the help of several affiliates and partners.

Our local office was established in 1996 to alleviate housing poverty In Romania. Our affiliates are spread across the three historic provinces of the country, with the national office in Bucharest. Two-thirds of Romania’s poor live in rural areas. In the cities, many dwellers live in cramped and decaying apartments in condominium complexes.

Statistics on housing poverty

In Romania, more than 5 million people are living in poverty — 1.5 million of those are children. Nearly 8.5 million people (41.2% of the Romanian population) have no bath or shower or access to running water. According to the national statistics, 35% of the housing stock in Romania is in a state of complete neglect and needs urgent repairs.

Real wages for working Romanian families have dropped by about 40%, putting additional pressure on the strained social system. The unemployed, farmers and housewives are most affected by severe poverty.

A dire need for decent housing

Much of Romania’s housing stock is low quality and deteriorating because of a lack of maintenance. A family of eight is typically more likely to live in a two-room flat than in a house. More than 10,000 blocks of flats were constructed 40-50 years ago and now need serious renovation to their infrastructure, heating systems and roofs.

In recent years, Romania has faced several bad floods, leaving thousands of people in temporary shelters every year. Similarly, the country has experienced harsh winters with heavy snowfalls that isolated many villages from the main roads and stable food supplies.

How we help alleviate housing poverty in Romania

We build, rehabilitate, provide advice, support and conduct energy efficiency and disaster risk reduction and response programmes for vulnerable groups. Our organisation runs nationwide and regional campaigns to raise funds for its construction projects and works closely with a large number of companies who actively support charitable projects.

Key facts & figures

  • Population: 21.6 million
  • Urbanization: 54.6 percent live in cities
  • Life expectancy: 75.1 years
  • Unemployment rate: 6.7 percent
  • Population living below poverty line:22.4 percent

Construction & rehabilitation

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Our local office builds and renovates homes in partnership with low-income families throughout the country. This ranges from one-house builds to blitz builds of 10 or more houses in just one week. Rehabilitation work is aimed at improving living conditions for families in the communist-era apartment blocks.

Many of these projects support socially disadvantaged groups: Roma, orphans and families who care for members or children with special needs.

Energy efficient homes

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We also help families all over the country to save on energy costs by insulating houses and doing minor repairs that minimise heat losses. In addition to this, over 3,000 people have taken part in trainings on practical tips for energy efficiency.

For instance, we've built the first passive community center in Romania in Boldesti – Scăieni. The building is a wooden structure with straw-bale walls and natural plasters (clay and sand for interiors and classic plasters for a better resistance). The building has increased efficiency in water and electricity consumption.

Responding to floods & earthquakes

heart icon construction
Thousands of families are often left without homes following natural disasters in Romania: floods, earthquakes, fire and landslides. Over the years, we've helped more than 40,000 people through our disaster risk reduction and response programmes.

Wherever possible, our team on the ground has rehabilitated homes destroyed by water, but often has had to rebuild them entirely. These programmes are community based and carried out in partnership with national government and local governments and businesses.

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