Social housing became one of the priorities in BiH and in the region. It is an emerging need, but somehow the social housing remained beyond influence of the civil society organizations, with the exception of the representatives of QNGOs – NGOs directly supported by the government representing interests of specific groups that are indeed in need but also members of the population groups that is politically and socially recognized as entitled to specific type of support (associations of war veterans, for example). Significant efforts were made in provision of reconstruction support for the returnees / refugees / war – affected population that enabled NGOs participating in the implementation of these activities gain extremely useful knowledge from the field and useful information about the people in need and potential applicable models that could be utilized to serve them.
Since 1996, Hilfswerk Austria International (HWA) BiH has been very active in the sector of refugee return support through complex integrated projects which comprehend various types of assistance such as: creation of permanent living space through reconstruction of houses, social housing, technical and social infrastructure; local capacity building through establishment and/or support to local NGOs and local authorities; education and training for local authorities – project associates; support in establishment or production improvement to SMEs in order to create new working places; improvements in agriculture sector through provision of grants, support to local co-operatives; psycho-social trainings for parents and teachers to reduce prejudices about inclusion and children with special needs and other activates. Hilfswerk Austria International has strong and respectable references in B&H with various donors (international and local): EC, the US Government (BPRM), Austrian government (ADA), UNHCR, the Dutch government, other Austrian donors, B&H government of all levels, in management and implementation of 73 projects valued more than 53 million EUR. Over 12.000 families were assisted through more than 3.400 houses that have been reconstructed, 7 social housing buildings with 63 flats were built, 5,400 grants delivered, at least 60 permanent new jobs created, 2 daily centres for children with special needs constructed etc.
HWA, one of the most successful organizations in the provision of support in reconstruction and community reintegration in the region, recognized the momentum to gradually move its focus more and more to social housing, aware of the need in the field and provide qualitative analysis for the purposes of the BiH strategy and models of social housing that was drafted jointly with HAJDE experts. HWA has performed an assessment of needs for social housing in BiH in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees BiH. Based on collected information we created data base for each municipality and prepared the Study which showed that more than 28.322 households or more than 53.000 persons are in need for social housing.
HWA is one of the largest organisations providing social & health care services, child care and support for families in Austria, as well as it supports people who need help in various regions all over the world, thus in charge of managing and running a number of social housing facilities (different types of accommodation including those with support of activities aiming to ensure support for senior citizens, homeless; women addicts etc.)