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Resume: Since 2013, the Government of the Ajara Autonomous Republic has started to provide ecomigrants with accommodation in social houses. Until today, 670 families have received accommodation. Of this amount, the biggest number of beneficiary families was registered in 2018 when 209 families received accommodation.

In regard to 2020, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Ajara Autonomous Republic as well as the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia handed over or/and legalized the ownership of accommodation for 126 ecomigrant families in different regions in Ajara.

As a part of the Ecomigrant Families Housing Programme alone, which was launched in 2016, a total of GEL 11,754,231 was allocated to purchase houses for ecomigrants. In total, 476 ecomigrant families purchased accommodation with this money.

The so-called Dream Town appeared in Batumi in 2012. This territory was arbitrarily taken over by families who have been demanding the improvement of housing conditions for years. The Government of the Ajara Autonomous Republic started to build multi-family residential buildings in 2019. However, the criteria for families living in Dream Town in terms of receiving their accommodation still remains undetermined. It is known, however, that representatives of UNICEF, the International Red Cross and Georgia’s Public Defender are involved in the elaboration of the criteria. The Government of the Ajara Autonomous Republic established a working group and surveyed 1,740 families. Of this amount, only 1,607 families have been registered.

Analysis:

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Affairs of the Ajara Autonomous Republic, Ramaz Jincharadze, said: “Since 2013 until today, nearly 600 ecomigrant socially vulnerable families have been assisted. This year, 120 families received accommodation. In regard to the settlement (the so-called Dream Town), we carried out a detailed survey of 1,740 families. Representatives of UNICEF, the Red Cross and the Public Defender are involved in studying these criteria and determining their sequence afterwards.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

There is no exact definition of the notion of an “ecomigrant,” although it is common that the term applies to families impacted by natural disasters and who are subject to relocation. A programme to provide housing for families in Ajara from the aforementioned category was launched in 2012. As a part of the Housing Construction Project for Socially Vulnerable and Ecomigrant Families, building reconstructions were carried out in Shuakhevi and Keda whilst two nine-storied blocks were built in Batumi.

The aforementioned project has been running for some years. The Ecomigrant Families Housing Programme was also launched in Ajara in 2016 and envisions the procurement of accommodation for each beneficiary family within a cost of GEL 25,000. In total, 476 families have already used the programme. A total of GEL 11,754,231 has been allocated from the budget of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the Ajara Autonomous Republic for the programme.

In 2013-2020, a total of 796 families have been provided with accommodation as a part of the Socially Vulnerable and Ecomigrant Families Housing Project and the Ecomigrant Families Housing Programme. Of this amount:

Source: Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the Ajara Autonomous Republic

Of note is that the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs procured houses for 34 ecomigrant families in 2020 and 13 families received accommodation in Khulo in a social house. In addition, 40 families who had migrated from Ajara to different regions of Georgia had their accommodation ownership rights legalized by the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs. The Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs also procured accommodation with its funds for 35 families. Another four families had their accommodation ownership rights legalized by the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Ajara.

As mentioned previously, housing is provided both by the transfer of relevant accommodation and the Ecomigrant Families Housing Programme where a maximum GEL 25,000 has been allocated to procure a house for each family. As of today, GEL 11,754,231 have been spent for this purpose and 476 ecomigrant families have benefited from the programme.

Table 1: Ecomigrant Families Housing Programme Expenditures per Year

Source: Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the Ajara Autonomous Republic

Nearly 2,000 families live in the so-called Dream Town which was formed in 2012. In 2019, the Government of the Ajara Autonomous Republic established a working group which surveyed 1,740 families. Of this amount, only 1,607 families were registered. As clarified by the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Ramaz Jincharadze, in his interview with FactCheck, in some cases spouses had been registered as separate families and this flaw was addressed. The census and the survey of the families are related to the construction of multi-family residential buildings for ecomigrant and socially vulnerable families which arbitrarily settled in Dream Town. The construction is in progress although the criteria for families to receive accommodation remain unknown. Some Dream Town dwellers are holding protests in this regard. They are demanding information from the authorities as to which families would receive accommodation at the first stage and the criteria they have to meet. The Dream Town commission, which has to determine the criteria and other details, includes UNICEF, Red Cross and Georgia’s Public Defender representatives. Their work will decide the programme beneficiaries at the first stage and those who will receive accommodation in a newly built residential accommodation.


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