Provision of Apartments to Homeless Gyumri Families
Gyumri Housing Project
Housing and Urban Development
Armenia Fund US Western Region, Benefactors Worldwide
Gyumri Housing Project, Gyumri, Armenia
Gyumri is Armenia’s second largest city (after Yerevan), and the capital of the Shirak Region, in the northwestern part of the republic. Once Armenia’s industrial heartland, Gyumri was devastated by the 1988 Spitak earthquake. Ever since the disaster, Armenian organizations, including Armenia Fund, and the international community have implemented massive reconstruction projects to help in the slow process of recovery.
At the time Armenia Fund launched its Gyumri Housing Project in 2014, hundreds of families in Gyumri who had lost their homes as a result of the 1988 earthquake remained essentially homeless. Most of these impoverished families, numbering over 4,000 people, live in shantytowns consisting of “temporary” metal containers or shacks called “domiks.” Others have found shelter in earthquake-ravaged and abandoned industrial buildings or dormitories. Living conditions in these squalid places are atrocious. Most are unsanitary, rat-infested huts or tiny spaces in structurally unsound buildings that lack basic amenities such as gas service and restrooms. Other problems include leaky roofs, molded walls, and the necessity to burn tires or wood for indoor heating.
Armenia Fund US Western Region launched the multi-year Gyumri Housing Project in 2014, by holding a special Telethon in collaboration with ARTN Shant TV of Los Angeles. With proceeds from the Telethon as well as contributions from benefactors worldwide, Armenia Fund purchased scores of apartments in Gyumri, completely renovated and furnished them, and subsequently presented them to families still living in “domiks” or blighted structures.
The families receive the apartments on condition that they will become their sole owners and are not allowed to either rent or sell them for a set number of years. The apartments feature all modern amenities, including appliances. In 2015, Armenia Fund US Western Region held a second special Telethon, as a result of which a new string of apartments were purchased and presented to homeless families.
The project has completely transformed the lives of homeless Gyumri families by providing them with clean, spacious, fully furnished apartments where they can live with dignity, enjoying modern comforts. As importantly, the project has given these families, who have always worked extremely hard for sheer survival, renewed hope for their future.
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