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Red Tape May Result in Some Refugees from Azerbaijan not Receiving Homes 

In November 2019, 10 years after the decision was made to provide housing to refugees from Azerbaijan living in temporary dormitories for 30 years, the Government started disbursement of funds for this purpose. According to updated lists as of 2019, there are 2589 refugee families in Armenia, of which the first batch of families that was to receive housing vouchers included 895 families (641 in Yerevan and 254 in the marzes) who lived in temporary private accommodations or communal buildings without basic amenities. Those living in the buildings of “Nairi” and “Sebastia” hotels (now privatized), the communal apartment building privatized by “InterRimini” LTD, refugees living on Tsarav Aghbyur street in temporary shelters in Yerevan are the priority group.

Some have received their vouchers, others received rejection letters a few days ago.

Epress.am talked to them to find out reasons of rejection.

The justification for rejections is repeated in most of the rejection letters resorting to the long-term absence of the beneficiaries from their accommodation. The calculation of days of absence is based on the Migration Service’s definition of permanent/non permanent residence with absence for over 183 days a year considered as non-permanent residence, therefore these individuals will drop from the priority list.

At “InterRimini” hostel, 3 residents received a rejection; 2 for “absence” and one due to an “instruction from the Cadaster Committee.”  If the rest of the residents receive vouchers, this privatized building owner will most likely evict them.

The first two are elderly women, who traveled to Russian during the winter months of the year to live with their children’s families. They never had a permanent residence in Russia. One of them, Anya, shows the cracks in her room, the stone floor. During the cold winter months, it is impossible to live in this accommodation. “My children migrated to Russia, but I did not, I lived here, I only moved to them temporarily from time to time and I was never told I didn’t have that right.”

The Migration Service cannot help them, say these people. The special commission handling the housing voucher program has approved the rejection.

The rejection story of Margarita is even more complicated. At the beginning of 90s, her she was registered as a co-owner of a house in Gyumri. Being a co-owner in the past automatically relinquishes her eligibility for the housing voucher. Margarita says, she never had a house on her own, she always lived in this hostel room for 30 years, she dropped her ownership rights shortly after her siblings became adults. At the beginning of the 90s, her father, who is by birth from Gyumri and whose house was ruined due to the earthquake, registered her only adult daughter in order to be eligible for a house in Gyumri. Margarita says, she never even saw this house, it was all done to meet documentation requirements, which apparently remained at the Cadastre’s archives. Margarita has appealed the rejection decision and asked to consider specificities to each case. The Migration Service has not responded yet.