Old address: metal container No. 231/450
New address: Mush 2 District, Halabyan Street, Building No. 4, Apartment 30

For as long as he remembers, Arsen Khachatryan, a young resident of Gyumri, has lived in huts — known as domiks. Born a few years after the 1988 Spitak earthquake, he grew up in his parents’ hut. Living conditions were dreadful. The cramped hovel had no restroom or kitchen, no access to gas or electricity service. Water had to be brought in in containers. The leaky, ramshackle structure provided no protection against weather extremes, while burning wood for heating made the already unsanitary conditions even worse.

When Arsen was 19 years old, their domik burned down because of a heater accident. Eventually his parents moved to another hut; and Arsen and his sister, Olga, were provided with a hut for themselves, purchased through the sponsorship of a local benefactor, Melik Sargsyan. But while the siblings were deeply grateful for having been given a domik, it was in as terrible a shape as the one they had grown up in.

Still, their situation couldn’t stand in the way of Arsen’s optimism. Soon, he married the girl he was in love with, Anush Hayrapetyan, and they started a family. Their son, Ruben, was born in 2014. Olga, who suffers from a mental illness, continued to live with them. After working a number of years as a coffin-maker, Arsen is now employed as a hearse driver. Anush, who was trained as a makeup artist, devotes herself to raising her child, hoping that one day, when Ruben is grown up, she’ll be able to practice her chosen profession. Despite living in the dreadful conditions of their domik, and even though their monthly income — including some government assistance for Olga — totaled less than $270, Arsen and Anush never stopped dreaming of a bright future.

Recently, a most cherished dream came true for the Khachatryans when representatives of Armenia Fund paid them a surprise visit at their hut, bearing an extraordinary gift. To the astonishment of the young family, the visitors presented them with the keys to a new apartment. It was made possible by Armenia Fund, through its ongoing Gyumri Housing Project.

The overjoyed family was at once taken to its new home, in Gyumri’s Mush 2 District. As Arsen, Anush, Ruben, and Olga set foot in the beautifully renovated apartment, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Not only was it cheerful and sizeable, room after room, but came fully furnished and featured a complement of comforts and amenities, including appliances.

With the indignity of living in a domik behind them, Arsen and Anush could now look forward to a warm, vibrant family life, in a marvelous environment where their son would have a healthy, safe, and happy childhood.

The Gyumri Housing Project is an ongoing initiative, and the support of caring donors is always welcome. Every single dollar counts in making a difference in the lives of Gyumri’s homeless families. It takes only around $25,000 to cover the costs of purchasing an apartment for a family, renovating it, furnishing it, and equipping it with all necessary appliances.

There are hundreds of struggling families in Gyumri who are still waiting for the day when they’ll leave the indignity of homelessness behind, and be given a fresh horizon to live for. With your generous contribution today, we can make their dream come true.

Photo Credit: Areg Balayan