Sixty-two families – 160 former refugees and internally displaced persons – moved to a newly constructed multi-apartment building in Zenica constructed within the EU-supported Regional Housing Programme, which was officially handed over to this municipality on Monday. A majority of these beneficiaries have been internally displaced for over two decades; now they finally have a permanent home.
“Nobody is happier than me. I am happy not for me, but for my children who finally have a permanent roof over their heads and who now live in suitable conditions,” said 39-years old father of three girls, Omer Dizdarević, who had moved eight times since 1992 when he was forced to leave his hometown. “I don’t want to look back and think of the past, our previous living conditions were nowhere near what we have today, I am very grateful for this,” said Omer.
The EU has so far allocated about EUR 63 million to the Regional Housing Programme to support refugees, displaced persons and returnees. “On behalf of the European Union, I am very happy and honored to be in Zenica today to celebrate the fact that you finally have permanent housing, constructed to the highest EU standards. This is about people’s lives, about their wellbeing, about them finally having their homes and hopefully a much better future,” stated Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH/EUSR.
The new building in Zenica was constructed within one of the subprojects of the Regional Housing Programme which includes a construction of a total of 24 buildings with 512 apartments for 2,200 beneficiaries.
“This project has enabled people dislocated for over 20 years to have a roof over their heads. I am grateful and pleased to see the happy faces of the beneficiaries, which is our ultimate success. The Regional Housing Programme has enabled growth of trust and cooperation within the relevant institutions across all levels of government in BiH as well as within the region,” Semiha Borovac, the BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, stated at the handover ceremony.
The Regional Housing Programme is a joint initiative by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, aiming to contribute to the resolution of the protracted displacement situation of the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons. The European Union is its largest donor.