“Zone and Legalize Two Marginalized Neighborhoods” project Launched in Peshtera

On December 4th, 2014 the CEO of the Trust for Social Achievement (TSA), Ms. Sarah Perrine, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mayor of Peshtera Municipality, Mr. Georgi Kozarev.  This marks the launch of the “Zone and Legalize Two Marginalized Neighborhoods Project” initiated by TSA. The project will address the need for improved housing conditions for the Roma by first helping to map and zone the “Lukovitsa” neighborhood.

The project also includes an awareness-raising campaign with neighborhood residents and technical support to help local authorities apply for EU funds that are currently available for infrastructure projects.

According to research conducted by the EU, World Bank, and the UN Development Program in 2011, almost 80% of Bulgaria’s Roma live under the poverty line, and approximately 62% of them lack access to public services because of un-zoned houses and neighborhoods.  In addition to mapping and zoning the community, the project will help households in Lukovitsa gain a forbearance certificate for their homes, which is an important first 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 TSA is also partnering with the Dupnitsa Municipality to launch a similar project.  Financial support for the project is provided by the America for Bulgaria Foundation.