The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Providing homes for vulnerable families in Serbia
UNOPS, the European Union (EU) and national partners are supporting an initiative to provide new homes to vulnerable families in Čačak, Serbia.
The project is part of the EU’s €27 million ‘Support for social housing and active inclusion programme’ – an initiative designed to enhance social inclusion policies in Serbia.
Implemented in partnership with both municipal and national government partners, the project aims to support those most vulnerable through three main areas:
strengthening the capacity of institutions, authorities and organizations that provide housing and inclusion services, including supporting more effective planning and implementation of housing programmes and relevant support services.
providing adequate housing to the most vulnerable communities, particularly communities that are living in or are at risk of living in poverty – such as Roma, disadvantaged women, young people leaving supervised care, persons with disabilities, and others living in inadequate housing conditions.
providing jobs as well as social, educational and healthcare services to members of these communities.
“[...] I believe that housing is only the first step in ensuring a better life. That is why this project envisages that particularly vulnerable groups acquire knowledge and skills that will enable them to have a quality life and inclusion in society," said Emanuele Giaufret, EU Ambassador to Serbia.
UNOPS is working with several government Ministries as part of the broader programme, including the Ministry for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure; the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs; and the Ministry of European Integration.
"Our engagement to build a better society does not end there, and European integration enables us to grow the infrastructure that is necessary for a better life and a better standard," said Serbia’s Minister for European Integration Tanja Mišćević.
"That is why it is important to continue with inclusion, to strengthen the standard, for people to find a job, to be trained, to acquire the knowledge necessary for the labor market and to find a job," she added.
In the city of Čačak, UNOPS, the EU and the local authorities handed over newly constructed and furnished homes to 12 vulnerable families.
“We worked together with the EU to provide furnished apartments and houses and for beneficiaries to finally be safe and secure for a minimal monthly rent,” explained the Mayor of Čačak, Milun Todorović.
“I wish them to enjoy their homes, and to know that their city and their country are here to support them. I want us to continue this kind of cooperation with the EU and to be aware at this moment how important it is that Serbia should stay on the European path,'' he added.
One of the project beneficiaries, Žarko Džambasević, expressed his gratitude and thanked everyone on behalf of the 12 families.
Moving into our new home is one step towards ensuring a better future, including the possibility of having another child.
By strengthening local capacity and providing sustainable housing accompanied by active social inclusion measures, the programme aims to contribute to support some of the most vulnerable people in Serbia to live in dignity and take an active part in society.
“Home is a place where we feel safe, protected from the potential outside perils, where we rest, but also work hard to plan and achieve a more prosperous future,” said Michela Telatin, Director of UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Serbia.
“We are happy to be a part of a huge step towards improving the lives of vulnerable people and to continuously support the Serbian national and local institutions and the European Union in delivering a more promising and hopeful future for those in need,” she added.