November 8, 2017, Sofia, TSA:
On October 26, 2017, the Municipal Council of the Kyustendil Municipality adopted a newly developed zoning plan for the Iztok neighborhood. This event marks a historic moment in Bulgarian urban planning as this is the first area with predominant Roma population that has been completely zoned. The endorsement of the zoning plan is the result of a successful collaboration between the Trust for Social Achievement (TSA) and the Kyustendil Municipality, who were supported by the local community in their efforts to improve the living conditions of the еstimated 12 000 inhabitants living in the Iztok neighborhood.
Zoning predominantly Roma neighborhoods is an important step toward improving access to public services and increasing the stability and socio-economic status of the community. A stable and protected home will also contribute to quality of life, increased health status, and ultimately a decrease in the level of poverty as a whole.
The success in Kyustendil demonstrates a vibrant model of a joint partnership between a non-governmental organization, a municipality and a local community which can be replicated in order to improve the living conditions of the most marginalized and economically disadvantaged communities in Bulgaria.
TSA is also partnering with the Dupnitsa and Peshtera Municipalities on the implementation of similar projects. The zoning projects implemented by TSA are financially supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation.