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Housing for IDPs

Story and photo: Anastasiia Ponomariova

Illustration: #AnnaSarvira


In 2015, Anastasiia co-founded the Urban Curators project, and since then, she has been engaged in architectural and research projects in the east of Ukraine, in particular in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts: cities of Slovyansk, Mariupol, Bakhmut, Kostiantynivka, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk. One example of projects that Urban Curators did was to organize architects in Mariupol to work on planning urban spaces together with children, teachers and parents.

Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Anastasiia was forced to move from Kyiv to Ivano-Frankivsk, where she joined the local community of urban planners METALAB. Using her experience, they decided that she could scale up the ongoing work with internally displaced persons.

The architects decided to help to create housing for displaced people. An important feature of Anastasiia's and METALAB's approach was the aim to contribute to qualitative changes in the housing policy of Ukraine, while at the same time addressing the urgency of the housing situation. Housing for displaced persons should be made in such a way that after the end of the war, it can still be used for other purposes.

The project was called CO-HATY, and at its core, as the name suggests ("cohaty" means "to love", and "haty" means "houses" in Ukrainian), is the idea of ​​joint action. New arrivals don't just move into ready-made housing, but participate in its creation at the construction stage. As volunteers, they can perform simple work to arrange and improve the space. This allows people to feel responsible for housing and solidarity with other residents.

Although most of the funds for the construction are provided by Western organizations, local people are also actively involved in the project: they donate furniture, equipment, and carpets. Thanks to them, the team was able to save half of the budget at the first facility (a dormitory).

During the three months of activity, CO-HATY refurbished the former dormitory in Ivano-Frankivsk, which can now accommodate up to 150 people. They are also working on three additional spaces: an abandoned office of the Department of Education, a dormitory in Ivano-Frankivsk, as well as an abandoned school in Kamianets-Podilskyi. These projects are expected to provide housing for up to 450 people.


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