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RHP: 96 refugee families received a home in Vrele Ribnički

Vera Delić is a single mother of seven children. She came to Montenegro more than twenty years ago because of the war.

The Delić family is one of 96 families that received an apartment through the Regional Housing Programme, a joint initiative between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia with the aim to solve the housing issue of refugees and displaced persons from the region. The initiative is supported by the international community, and the European Union is the largest donor.

Her new neighbour, Aida Avdić, found refuge from the whirlwind of war in Montenegro.

“We escaped from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991. We felt safe in Montenegro. People were good to us. We were waiting for what we were supposed to be waiting for. Many thanks to all the people for their good will and for helping us,” said Aida.

As the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) is nearing its end, the partners gathered and celebrated the end of the project with the beneficiaries in Vrele Ribnički, on the outskirts of Podgorica.

EU Ambassador Oana Cristina Popa congratulated the beneficiaries on their new homes on behalf of the European Union, and noted with satisfaction that the Programme has so far provided housing for more than 30,000 of the most vulnerable beneficiaries throughout the region.

“The Regional Housing Programme is an exceptional example of the joint efforts of countries from the region and international donors towards peace, reconciliation, and integration. It is our joint success, and the EU is proud to be the largest donor. The solidarity of EU citizens is visible today. I hope that this day represents a new beginning for all beneficiaries and that they will build happiness and well-being within their new homes,” concluded Ambassador Popa.

The Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Admir Adrović, thanked the European Union – the main donor of the RHP, as well as the donor countries, the Development Bank of the Council of Europe, the UNHCR, OSCE, other partner countries, and the Capital City for their support and cooperation.

During the war, many lost their properties, but also their loved ones. In Montenegro they found their new home and hope for a better life and a more certain future. You have become part of our society. This is evidenced though today’s gathering,” Minister Adrović said while greeting the families.

“Once again, through the Regional Housing Programme, Montenegro has shown its commitment to providing permanent solutions for displaced persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina and for internally displaced persons from Kosovo,” said UNHCR Representative Jean-Yves Bouchardy.

Marja Seppälä referred to the long-standing role of the CEB in the RHP, as well as the active engagement of donors since the launch of the Programme.

“The celebration cannot be complete without acknowledging the vital role of donors to the RHP – primarily the EU, but also other major donors such as Germany, which I am glad to see are also here today, in addition to the USA, Norway, Switzerland, and Italy. Without your generosity, none of this would be possible,” Seppälä pointed out.

At the end, one of the present beneficiaries, Hasani Ševćet, took the opportunity to thank the RHP partners on behalf of the families, before ending with a traditional song.

The total value of the construction project of 96 apartments in Vrele Ribničke is more than €4 million, of which donor funds encompass more than €3.2 million.

In addition to this project, thanks to the Regional Housing Programme, permanent and sustainable housing solutions have been provided for over 1,000 families in Montenegro.