Foreign Experience of Housing Solutions and Compensation for Destroyed/Damaged Housing for IDPs
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Shelter Cluster

Foreign Experience of Housing Solutions and Compensation for Destroyed/Damaged Housing for IDPs
by Housing, Land and Property Rights Technical Working Group, May 2017
Purpose: To analyse the general context for housing solutions and compensation in other contexts in order to make relevant recommendations for Ukraine on the ways ahead of policy formation, formation of compensation, restitution and compensation claims, development of housing programs. Through looking at the case studies of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Colombia, Cyprus, Georgia, Molodva and Serbia, the Housing, Land, and Property Technical Working Group found the following general trends that Ukraine should take into consideration:
1. The process of restoration of the victims’ rights evolves over certain stages: restitution and then compensations. This approach allows inclusion of all people affected by the conflict regardless of their qualifications according to domestic law: IDPs, CAPs, returnees, residuals etc. In conflict settings, securing compensation is complicated while the conflict is ongoing or in the absence of a peace agreement.
2. For conflict settings, many positive initiatives were donor led or supported including donor funding compensation funds. Therefore, there is a need to inform donors about their role in supporting the combination of housing and access to justice issues for the recovery period.
3. Geography is important to ensure access to justice. Several countries who were the most successful in managing their disaster-affected housing had well developed cadastres and land assessments which were crucial pieces of evidence during their claims commissions. For Ukraine, this requires support to work on the country’s cadastre system, which was not so well developed prior to the crisis. Many of the country contexts had housing stock, which was badly in need of repair prior to the crisis. Well informed geographical and infrastructure systems can include this housing stock in housing programs while also stimulating livelihoods such as in the construction sector.
4. Claims Commissions, which are usually a mixture of administrative and quasi-judicial bodies of state power plays a key role in adequate response to housing solutions to people affected by conflict.
5. Durable housing solutions as the rule imply not only housing legislature, but also land tenure, infrastructure solutions as the part of the approach. In many cases, housing programs were decentralised and relying on the support of the local municipalities Those countries and locations that struggled the most were the ones who did not have a broader housing policy framework. Ukraine has the similar challenges and recovery programs should ensure that there is a government policy supporting certain reforms in the housing sector to make compensation, social housing, and adequate heating functional.
6. Selection criteria of housing provision at the local level. In many cases, housing programs were decentralised and relying on the support of the local municipalities. Selection of beneficiaries was done based on a scoring system, which took into account mostly of housing needs and social status of the persons. Local authorities didn’t actually acquire property, but where possible they conducted checks on the actual needs of the beneficiaries of social housing (i.e. cross checks on repossessed property) in order to avoid abuse by potential beneficiaries. Local authorities used direct contracts with the beneficiaries of social housing to prevent them from abusing the assistance they received (i.e. prohibition to sell the property, obligation to use occupy the property within a certain deadline). All these provisions were agreed upon by the beneficiary and the authorities through standard contacts.
7. The efficient measure is putting the burden of proving to the state (Claims Commissions). As foreign experience shows, usually 10% of victims receive state-financed solutions for their housing problems. Nevertheless, if the burden of proving goes to the state, it shortens the time of restitution/compensations to be received.
8. Condominium processes are important and can be a source of community ownership of the challenge, but often they can be difficult for local populations to understand, thus programs should be inclusive, flexible, and correspond with contextual incentives to participate in these community groups.