Our Local Initiatives cooperating partner “Youth Roma and Egyptian Movement” is pleased to present the latest achievements regarding the legalization of informal housing for Roma and Egyptian communities. This is a well-known issue in Albania as back in time, in the absence of proper state regulation families built their constructions on any land they could. Despite the fact that the Albanian government started taking serious steps towards the legalization of informal settlements, this process was accompanied by loads of obstacles concerning the technical registration process in the cadastral system. When it comes to the Roma and Egyptian communities, they usually face additional problems such as: lack of information, ongoing discrimination and bureaucratic hurdles within public institutions.
Youth Roma and Egyptian Movement aimed to increase families’ awareness about the proceedings of legalizing informal housing and promoting institutional responsibility in implementing laws and measures to ensure equality and participation for Roma and Egyptian communities. It all started with the identification of the families that needed active support and involvement in following all the necessary steps to complete the process. The Kallku and Zerellari families were among the first ones to get this kind of assistance. They both stated that their houses were built with a lot of sacrifices and that they have been on the wait for the legalization process to happen since 2005. The Kallku family members pointed out that they are often overlooked and socially excluded because of the low level of educational attainment, high unemployment rate and low monthly income. They also added that because of poverty they can’t afford different services, including this one. In the same line, Xhevit Zerellari explained that “Youth Roma and Egyptian Movement” has helped him in drafting a request addressed to the State Cadaster Agency (ASHK) Elbasan to review his documents according to the relevant legal deadlines. The same process was conducted for several other families. “The social assistance is the only source of income that we get and this house is my life” said Zerellari. In response to these requests, the staff members of State Cadaster Agency (ASHK) in Elbasan contacted the Youth Roma and Egyptian Movement to facilitate the process and continue with the measurements of the apartments. As a result of continuous efforts, some families of the Roma and Egyptian community were able to receive their ownership certificates. However, there are still many families who are waiting for their files to be reviewed and hopefully they will be able to get them within the deadlines.