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October 21, 2016
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Slovakia: Roma build new homes with EU money

3.11.2015 22:08
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PHOTO: Facebook page "Architekti v osadě ("Architects in the settlement")

The Office of the Slovak Government's Plenipotentiary for Romani Community Affairs allocated financing last year for three local administrations to build lower-standard small apartment buildings. That successful project can now continue thanks to a subsidy in the amount of EUR 70 million to be provided to Slovakia by the European Union for the purpose of building more such dwellings.

Municipalities will be able to apply for the new subsidy to build dwellings for Romani people at the beginning of next year. Around 400 000 Romani minority members ares estimated to live in Slovakia, very often in substandard conditions in settlements on the peripheries of towns or villages.

The approved subsidy from the EU funds will facilitate building roughly 4 500 new apartment units that can contribute to a basic improvement in Romani families' standard of living. "This is good news for Slovakia," Peter Pollák, the Slovak Plenipotentiary, said when asked for comment on the European Commission's decision.

"We won't have to spend money from the state budget, we will use European Commission money to continue these projects," he said. Romani people themselves are to be hired for the construction work.

The eastern Slovakian village of Breznica, for example, had good experience with Romani participation in building when locals engaged in mutual aid to construct a small apartment building with three units there. On the other hand, Romani people from Humenné in Slovakia were involved in auxiliary construction work only to a minimal extent.

The cost of constructing the apartment buildings there was ultimately higher because a private construction firm was used. Pollák believes that approach should not occur as much in future.

"We will strongly ensure that Romani people will build these small apartment houses as a kind of mutual aid and self-help. It's not possible that the municipality will send private firms into the settlements instead of hiring Romani locals. Our aim was for the construction costs to be significantly reduced, for Romani people to acquire skills, and for them to have a relationship to these dwellings," Pollák told the Slovak media. 

ČTK, adg, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Dotace, EU, European Commission, Housing, Roma, Slovakia


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