Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, and the Mayor of Brčko District of BiH, Siniša Milić, presented apartment keys to 18 Roma families in the settlement of Novo Brčko in Brčko, on Tuesday, 24 October 2017.
The building with eighteen housing units was built within the Roma Action II project, financed by the European Union in the amount of €2.5 million, and co-financed by the local authorities. The project that provides housing for a total of 140 Roma families is being implemented in nine municipalities in the territory of BiH.
“This facility is part of a much larger project, which includes local communities throughout BiH. Construction of houses for Roma families, just like any other family, is the foundation of integration into society. If you do not have a home, you cannot provide education for your children, it’s difficult to maintain a job and you can hardly integrate into the society and become a real citizen that contributes to the society, ” Ambassador Wigemark said and stressed that full integration of this population into society required other aspects to be met, such as education, employment and health.
Mayor Siniša Milić emphasised that the Brčko District of BiH has been investing a lot of effort in care for the Roma population.
“We are aware that housing is only part of the solution. Therefore, in the forthcoming period, we will have to work more seriously on full inclusion of this population. We are on the way to develop a concept of social housing as a model and way of providing housing units for all those that need this type of housing. I am sure that we will adopt a law on social housing in the coming period,” Milić said.
Beneficiary Eldina Aljić thanked the European Union and the Brcko District of BiH for securing a roof over her head and her family of three. “They provided us a better future. So far, I have been living with my mother and father. As of today, my family and I have our own apartment, “said Aljić.
Within the first and second phase of the Roma Action Project, the European Union provided a total of €5 million, which will significantly improve the living conditions and the socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable Roma families. The second phase of the project, within which these housing units have been built, is being implemented in nine target municipalities/cities in BiH (Tuzla, Gračanica, Banovići, Kakanj, Zavidovići, Zenica, Bijeljina, Modriča and the Brčko District of BiH).