Families Work to Legalize Their Homes

"I want a home in which my child has a room of her own." This is what 24-year-old Kostadin Katrandjiev, who works as a machine worker at the Biovet plant in Peshtera, says.

Currently, Kostadin and his wife do not even have their own home, they live in his father's house. And like a number of other families in their Roma community, they live under the same roof with three other families, which of course makes it uncomfortable. "There are 20 of us living under one roof and it's not easy," says Kostadin. His wife Raina was educated in Bulgaria until the 6th grade and then completed her secondary education in England. She enrolled in college with a major in pharmacy but dropped out after three months to return to Bulgaria. Here she met her love. Not long after, she and Kostadin got married, and soon after their daughter was born, who is now two years old. 

Their living conditions over the past three years have now forced the young family to look for new opportunities. So when they found out about TSA's initiative to regulate illegal Roma buildings, the "Zoning“ project, Raina and Kostadin decided to buy a plot of land in the Lukovitsa neighborhood in Peshtera. "We want to have a normal family home, which has a kitchen, a children's room, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a living room," says Raina. She saved money from her time in England, which she will now invest in building the house. "We want our children to be brought up here, and we will do everything possible to help them develop academically so that they have a good future," says the father. 

The Trust for Social Achievement is developing and implementing a model of Roma neighborhood regulation in Peshtera, Dupnitsa, and Kyustendil. The team has the ambition to help about 2,000 families get their own property and a formalized home. TSA assists by providing a team of experts, including architects, and engineers to first prepare zoning plans. The Foundation then provides support for the Community Investment Fund to sell plots to families and to advise them on the construction of their homes. The project has been implemented with the successful cooperation of the local administration. Based on our successful experience, our team has shared lessons learned with 30 other municipalities in the country that could potentially benefit from the already established zoning practice.