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Homes for the vulnerable from the Zverinjak settlement: Altruism at work

Donors at the construction site  |  Photo: Daily Vijesti

Niksic, 19 September 2014

The municipality of Niksic, in cooperation with the UNHCR, hosted on September 19, a ceremony marking the commencement of construction project, valued at 290.000€ that aims to bring durable solutions of housing needs for 10 families from Zverinjak.

Altruism through joint efforts 

A Niksic settlement, Gracanica, has been unusually noisy, as the construction of eight apartments for families from Zverinjak, commenced earlier this month. Zverinjak, a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Niksic, was a home for displaced persons from Kosovo, users of social care, as well as the former workers of Zeljezara, the alloyed steel engineering factory. Some 4.500 square meters of land was restituted to family of Todorovic, after being taken from them during the construction of Zeljezara, in 1963.
The restitution decision was made final four years ago, but was postponed several times due to altruism of the land owners, who did not want to see the evicted families thrown in the street and left roofless. The NGO, Human Rights Action, was also very vocal in finding help for the families, noting the importance of securing the housing for the vulnerable, in accordance with the European legislation.
The municipality of Niksic conducted a needs assessment for the housing care and valued the project at 290.000€, of which it provided the funds for utility, land, power stations and building foundations in the value of 130.000€. During the visit to the construction by the domestic and international donors, the Mayor of the Niksic Municipality, Mr. Veselin Grbovic, said that the both governmental and nongovernmental actors demonstrated they can recognize human needs and act in solidarity.
“At the initiative of the NGO “Human Rights Action”, we have joined our efforts and decided to solve the housing needs of ten families from Zverinjak. With the completion of this construction project, one of the urgent social problems of the Niksic municipality will be resolved”, said proudly Mr. Grbovic. 
The UNHCR donated 40.000€ for the first phase of the project, a construction of two apartments and took upon itself to lobby for the securement of the remaining funds with international donors. The Representative of the UNHCR to Montenegro, Indu Mohandas, said that it is always a happy moment for UNHCR, whose primary goal is to end displacement, to be present on an occasion where refugees move ahead to new life of permanence and dignity.
„And to make this possible, I must thank the Government of Montenegro, the municipality of Niksic, the Government of Germany and our partner, HELP, who have supported us in this endeavor. I must also make a special reference to Mr. Todorovic, who has kindly provided temporary shelter and allowed the 10 families some form of security and protection, despite a court order for eviction. This noble gesture is very much appreciated and lauded“.
By donating 80.000 EUR, the Government of Germany secured construction of two facilities, or four apartments, entrusting the management of the funds to „Help“, an organization with an imposing reputation of helping the vulnerable in the country.
The completion of the construction of eight apartments is expected before the end of the year, in which case the families will be able to move in before the winter. The funds for the construction of the remaining two apartments have not yet been secured.