Within the framework of the program, in 2008, the State Budget was supposed to assign 124,000,000 drams ($330,667) to buy apartments for orphans; the same amount was allotted in 2009. Both programs have not been implemented. The State Budget did not assign those sums to the ministry at all, and hence, no apartments were bought.
On December 4 the For Equal Rights Initiative, in cooperation with the Media Center, held a panel discussion on the Government program intended to provide housing for adult orphans. The panelists included: Astghik Minasyan, Head of Social Welfare Department of the RA Ministry ofLabour and Social Issues; Tigranuhi Karapetyan, Head of Our Home NGO; and Anna Safaryan, Advisor to the RA Ombudsman.
AstghikMinasyan said that presently 234 alumni and 109 children without parental care are on the list for apartments but the list seems endless. She added that the government is realizing a program called ‘Housing for Socially Vulnerable and People in Special Groups’, within which orphanage graduates received flats in Maralik.
“Unfortunately, many of them refused the housing. The biggest problem is that they cannot find work in Maralik. Next in the program is the buildings located in Yerevan’s Tbilisian Highway. Everybody wants to get the housing in Yerevan, which is related to the same work pool problem,” she said.
TigranuhiKarapetyan does not consider it right that 18-year-old graduates are sent to Maralik or Spitak without a job or future support. Karapetyan thinks that the program must be amended to address all problems.
Anna Safaryan said that many graduates of orphanages turn to the Ombudsman’s office. Many of them complain that their turn never comes, and others – of the quality of the housing they were already provided with.
“After leaving the orphanage the state, skip for providing housing for several cases, does not support or get interested in the future of this children anyhow,” Safaryan said. “Graduates with disabilities appear in even graver conditions as they have only one path to choose – to the nursery home or to a psychiatric center. The state does not undertake any measures for those with disabilities, whereas in specialized orphanages the number of children with disabilities exceeds that of those without disabilities. There is still a lot to be done here.”