Even more than two decades after the end of the war in former Yugoslavia, many people still live in exile. Resolving the housing issue and finding peace after so many years is one of the burning issues in the post-Yugoslav republics. One of these people is Marko Uzelac, originally from a small place near Benkovac.

“I came here in 1995. Me, my wife and two daughters who were minors at the time. We arrived with nothing”, Uzelac begins his story.

The Regional Housing Program (RHP), in addition to building apartments and offering construction materials, has also announced a call for the purchase of rural households for refugee families.

“I applied. By God, at the last moment”, says Marko.

And it is good he did so – thanks to RHP, the Uzelac family found their permanent home in Obrenovac.

“Our hope was not dying. It was the one to keep us. If it had not been for this help, whatever we have now would not exist. Even today, I would be a tenant somewhere, in someone else’s house, and I would pay and build someone else’s house instead of tidying up my own”, concludes Uzelac, who found his permanent home in Obrenovac, owing to RHP.

RHP is one of the main projects that encourages cooperation between the countries of the region and contributes to peace, stability and reconciliation. The programme was established to provide durable housing solutions to vulnerable refugees and displaced persons following the 1991-1995 conflict in the former Yugoslavia. RHP conducts its activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

EU support for peace, reconciliation and good neighbourly relations in Serbia has reached more than 300m euros. The assistance is aimed at strengthening regional co-operation and stability, as well as resolving bilateral issues and legacies from the past. The EU has provided 74m euros to support housing and employment for the most vulnerable refugee families and internally displaced persons. The goal of the regional programme implemented in this sector is to improve the quality of life of 74,000 people, or about 27,000 families from the former Yugoslavia. The total budget is estimated at approximately 584 million euros over a five-year period.