Refugees in Moldova receive rent-free houses up to 5 years
Some refugees in Moldova received symbolic keys to their new homes. A pilot housing scheme, which was established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the European Union, built four apartments in Mereni village, 25 kilometers south-east of Chisinau.
“At present, refugees in Moldova must compete with local residents for affordable housing. But the new scheme has seen UNHCR renovate dilapidated buildings, attracting keen interest from Moldova's government,” informs the UNHCR on their website.
Deputy Prime Minister Mihai Moldovanu said Moldova must help ensure that refugees find appropriate housing.
"Any society that claims to be democratic must fully respect the rights of its members and people living on its land," he said.
Tanzila Cartoeva is an ethnic Chechen. She came to Moldova in 1997 and is among the refugees to benefit from the pilot project. She said her new apartment will help resolve a lot of the problems she has encountered raising four children.
"We spent so much money on rent and utility bills, it was impossible to have some savings or even cover our essential needs," Ms. Cartoeva said.
"Now as we move to a new apartment which is much more comfortable and pleasant than the one we lived in before, our family cannot just survive, but properly live." She added that she would "try to find a job here which will be favorable both for the community and my family."
The beneficiaries will live rent-free up to five years in their new apartments. This measure is intended to encourage the families to raise money to buy their own house.
UNHCR offices in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine implement various activities in self-reliance, housing and language training to help refugees better integrate in some of Europe's poorest states, according to the agency.
"UNHCR is grateful to the European Union and the villages for support and we hope that the government may be able to offer more assistance in the future to help refugees integrate," the UNHCR Representative Peter Kessler said.