Point of View

300 Orphanage Graduates Remain Homeless (video)

11.11.2011

The number of graduates of orphanages has reached 300: the problem of providing them with residential accommodation is not yet solved. There are graduates of previous years, who got houses, but do not live in them since these places are not in good state. The state allocated houses either in damp basements, or on the top floors of the buildings, where the rain penetrates into houses.

"My windows didn't close and when it rained I didn't sleep whole night, so that the water didn't penetrate into my neighbor's house. I worked as waiter and I collected money for building a roof. And now I have no job, but I have a child of 1 year and 8 months. I get 19.500drams of pension. Sometimes those graduates of orphanages who have nowhere to go, stay with me and help me", says Gavar orphanage graduate Hermine Asatryan, who got the apartment in 2004.

Hermine applied to state bodies, "They said, that's all we can provide. However, before that they said that we were to be provided with apartments in stone buildings, with rooms facing the sun and costing around 12.000 dollars, but this is an apartment of 4500 dollars".

Hermine Asatryan is not the only one. Around 40 graduates are dissatisfied with their apartments. Some of them do not even live in them, since the situation there makes it impossible to stay there.

In 2012 15 more graduates of orphanages and other 300 from previous years will wait for the houses allocated to them by law. As in previous years in 2012 no money will be allocated from the state budget to RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for providing the graduates of orphanages with houses.

This year by the order of RA prime-minister that money will be allocated to the Ministry of Urban Planning for building social houses. In these houses there will be apartments for the orphanage graduates as well.

This process will demand years. As the Head of the Department of Family, Women and Children Issues of the Ministry Lala Ghazaryan mentioned, only in 6 months it will be clear how many houses the Ministry of Urban Planning plans to build for the past and future orphanage graduates. However, there is no information on how long it will take to build these houses and when the allocations will start.

Member of the "Heritage" fraction Anahit Bakhshyan after fighting for the rights of orphanage graduates for 5 years understood that the current government doesn't understand the point in the Constitution according to which Armenia is a social country.

"The Ministry announces that there is no money in the state budget intended for realizing a project in that field, since during the period of 2003-2009 the money intended for realizing these projects went to someone's pocket. They also say that the 28 apartments in which the present graduates refuse to stay will be taken from them and given to other graduates. However, these are apartments where even dogs wouldn't live", says Anahit Bakhshyan.

40 apartments were bought through the "State support for the graduates of RA orphanages" program, however in 28 apartments no one lives. The residents of the rest 12 apartments are complaining about the living bad conditions, for example in the bathroom there are open electricity wires, some apartments are in the basement of the buildings, where it is damp and impossible to live. The Ministry, however, doesn't agree that these apartments are unfit to live in.

"We have facts that 15 graduates who work in the petrol stations, stay there overnight. Other 20 graduates work at construction areas and stay there overnight", announced in 2009 the president of the Control Chamber of the Republic of Armenia Ishkhan Zaqaryan after the revelation of the cases of abuse in buying apartments for orphan graduates.

As a reminder, in July 2010 it was officially announced that in the frames of "State support for the graduates of RA orphanages" program, created by the decision 1419 N on the 30th of October 2003, abuses by three companies were detected.

Anahit Bakhshyan thinks that the sum of money, i.e. 1 billion 237.500.000 AMD, which according to Lala Ghazaryan has been fully confiscated from those guilty in the abuse should be directed at rebuilding the apartments previously given to graduates and should not be presented as money allocated for building new houses in 2012.  Lala Ghazaryan says that this year as a result of economic crisis they can't afford having a separate program, and therefore the money should be directed at building social houses so that there won't be new cases of abuses.

To the question of what will be the situation with the graduates who cannot live in their apartments, Ghazaryan said, "Those people who already got apartments, cannot receive second ones."

According to Lala Ghazaryan at the moment the number of orphanage graduates has become 300. She suggests the graduates to wait and in the future get involved in programs intended for allocating apartments in social houses.

Social houses will be built in regions' Gyumri, Stepanavan. This means that the graduates will not stay in these houses either, since in the regions it is hard to find a job. Ghazaryan mentions, however, that these graduates will have the right of priority in getting any job. Besides, special program will be carried out aimed at solving the problem of professional orientation and employment issues.

Social houses will be built, special state programs will be carried out for solving employment issues: these are all statements the realization of which will be in the future, however the problems of living and working are present issues for orphanage graduates, which demand quick solution.

Karine Ionesyan

Source: www.hra.am