95 IDPs living in Kramatorsk received new housing. An old municipal dormitory was reconstructed, and now it has 32 separate apartments. Financing for this project was provided by the European Union back in 2015. The reconstruction work was delayed, and in Sloviansk, it stopped altogether. The authorities admit that one dormitory would surely not solve the problem of housing for IDPs, and count on further help from abroad.
32 apartments for IDPs were created in the old building of a municipal dormitory in old Kramatorsk. The dormitory now houses families with many children, people with special needs and other recipients of social benefits among internally displaced persons. The Ivaneiev family with many children from Makiivka was one of the first to receive apartment keys. They fled to Kramatorsk back in 2015, and rented a modest, inexpensive dwelling. Today, they live in a two-room apartment that has the necessary furniture and household appliances.
“We rented an apartment with very Soviet conditions, to put it mildly, and therefore, comparing to the apartment we rented before, this one is much better and more comfortable. Of course, we still need certain things, but over time, we could buy them to make our living better”, Iryna Ivaneieva, an IDP from Makiivka says.
The woman is happy. Today, her children can live and grow up in normal conditions. However, as soon as she’ll get the chance to come back home, Iryna will return her temporary apartment to Kramatorsk without hesitation.
‘I see the difference between what’s over there and what’s here. To me, over here is life, and over there is stagnation of sorts. That’s my take on it. If Ukraine comes back, we will surely come back, too”, the IDP says.
A former Donetsk resident, Svitlana Lazareva lost her husband during shelling. Today, she lives in Kramatorsk together with her disabled brother. The woman can’t hide her joy from the new housing she received.
“We, me and him, will have a separate bed with mattress. We’ll have a refrigerator. Over there, we have nothing. Here, we’ll have a boiler with hot water. Chairs, tables… It’s great!” the pensioner rejoices.
In total, the former dormitory has 25 one-room and 7 two-room apartments. Reconstruction of the building took three years and cost 364 thousand euros. Financing was allocated by the EU Delegation to Ukraine. Diplomats say that with projects like this, they demonstrate their support of Ukraine.
“It demonstrates solidarity of the European Union with the Donetsk Oblast in the desire to help victims of the conflict. For the EU, it is one of the many projects we support in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. I mean reconstruction of a bridge in Severodonetsk and of a water supply system in Kreminna, creation of a medical service center in Mariupol, and many more”, Berend de Groot, Head of Cooperation Programs of the EU Delegation to Ukraine says.
However, Mr. de Groot said that he is upset that similar dormitories for IDPs in Sloviansk have never been built, despite sufficient financing. At the same time, regional authorities count on the European Union’s support in construction of housing for IDPs, because Ukraine won’t cope with this problem on her own.
“We have one and a half million internally displaced persons. Today, the Ukrainian budget cannot overcome the problem of housing for IDPs. If the European Union will help, we will thank them for giving people a chance to realize themselves in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government”, Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, Head of Donetsk Oblast Civilian-Military Administration says.
In late June, European diplomats promise to open another two dormitories for IDPs in Kramatorsk. This way, 84 IDP families will receive temporary housing in the city until the armed conflict in the Donbas region ends. The European Union allocated EUR 1,650 thousand to the city for this purpose. Almost 200 thousand more was spent from the city’s budget. According to Kramatorsk Mayor, the work was delayed because construction workers were unwilling to go and work in a city close to the frontline.
Radio Liberty published this article as part of a special project for residents of the occupied part of the Donbas