UN report: 22% of immigrants are returning to ORDLO due to inability to rent a home

Long-term solutions that would ensure the integration of internally displaced persons have not been developed yet, and these individuals continue to be unprotected with regard to livelihoods and secure tenure.

This is stated in the XVII Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation with human rights in Ukraine, prepared on the results of the work of the UN monitoring mission on human rights in Ukraine in the period of November 16, 2016 to February 15, 2017. The document was promulgated on March 15.

It is specified that this is the concept of “adequate housing” – it is affordable housing, suitable for living, accessible physically, located close to the facilities necessary for life, adequate from the cultural point of view, with legal accommodation and access to necessary services (including water supply, sewerage and energy supply).

“Lack of access to adequate housing directly influences the trends of population displacement and return to the territory affected by the conflict … 70% of IDPs return forever to the territory affected by the conflict to protect their property, and 22% – because they can not afford to rent a house. This demonstrates the consequences of the lack of concrete steps by the Government [of Ukraine] to ensure long-term solutions of the housing problem and successful integration”, it is stated in the Report.

The OHCHR also notes that some IDPs do not have access to the government social support, in particular, to subsidies for utility services, “since they do not have formal lease agreements with landlords whose conclusion is required by Ukrainian law, but which is rare, since many homeowners do not want to formalize their arrangements with IDPs”.

According to UNHCR, only 5-7% out of 62% of IDPs who rent housing, have signed official lease agreements.

Many IDPs told OHCHR that they would be forced to return to the territory beyond the control of the Ukrainian authorities because of the tariff increase for utilities, which they could not pay. As shown by the NRC survey (December 2016), 52% of all requests for legal aid received by humanitarian organizations were related to housing subsidies and financial support to cover utility costs.

Despite the fact that local authorities sometimes provide temporary accommodation for IDPs, most of them do not receive any documents indicating their right to use these premises. “This lack of security of tenure will increase the risk of forced eviction of IDPs and other human rights violations, for example, the risk of homelessness, dangerous returns”, the Report states.

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