In 2017 the Mocanu family were selected to receive access to affordable social housing.
For the Mocanu family, living in Cumpana, Romania, having to choose between their child’s health or improving their housing situation is no real choice. They spend a third of their income on healthcare bills and do their best to find a stable home for their children.
What is poverty housing like in Romania
Before Habitat for Humanity’s intervention, they lived under the constant threat of eviction from a landlord who refuses to give them a contract. The cost of rent and utilities in Romania is among the highest in Europe. With a monthly income of only £650 and you have a child who needs regular medical attention, the Mocanu family needed a home in which to thrive and not just survive.
Mihai, his wife Anna Maria and their children Sorin and Marian, had been living in temporary housing for 6 months.
“When the banks see how much we earn, they just don’t care about us. When they see that we have children and hardships…you can forget about getting help from them.”
The family’s youngest child, also suffers from a disability where he needs to use a cathater to urinate. The cost for these is around 1,800 Lei every month, which is well over a third of their monthly income on health care. The family receive a government allowance of around £20 per month to help them support the children, but on top of paying for his physiotherapist and medication, that’s no where near enough.
For so long, the Mocanu family have moved around temporary housing because like many landlords in Romania, theirs refused to sign a contract with their tenants because if they sign a contract, the landlord has increased obligations, such as paying taxes. By not having a final contract, they also have the freedom to tell their tenants to leave whenever they want.
With the support of Habitat for Humanity, they’re receiving access to affordable, social housing in Romania so that they can start again and build a safe, decent home for their family.
Building a new life
Habitat for Humanity Romania regularly receieves applications from families who need a home. When assesing the needs of a family, we use a questionnaire and scoring table. This family scored higher because they have two children to look after, one of which has disabilities.
In theory, there is a law in Romania that says children up to 18 should receive free education and healthcare. In practice, the amount of bureaucracy and paperwork to fill in is such that when your child’s health is at stake, parents can’t wait and will go to the doctor’s and pay for it themselves.
“Sometimes the life of your child can be the cost of waiting so long for the papers to come through.”
By contributing to the building effort and repaying a zero interest loan, the Mocanu family became homeowners. They received access to affordable, social housing in Romania so that they can start again and build a safe, decent home for their family.
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