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USAID founding homeowner associations in IDP settlements

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, May 16
On Tuesday, USAID and Rustavi City Hall signed a letter of intent to begin formal cooperation under USAIDís New Economic Opportunities (NEO) Initiative.

The agreement formalized various aspects of cooperation between Rustavi and USAID, including the formation and capacity-building of homeowner associations (HOA) for settlements of internally-displaced persons (IDPs).

The signing ceremony was attended by Kirk Ramer, USAID/NEO Chief of Party, Zakaria Darchiashvili, Mayor of Rustavi and Valeri Kopaleishvili, Head of the Administration Department at the Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ramer stated that in 2012, the NEO will work on six apartment buildings and two cottage settlements to establish homeowner associations.

"The NEO will assist in the formation of homeowner associations in IDP apartment buildings and settlements and work to provide the associations with the capacity to properly manage and maintain the infrastructure rehabilitated by the US government," he said.

USAID plans to provide additional IDP housing through the rehabilitation of vacant apartment buildings, as well as upgrades to existing IDP settlements of individual cottages. The NEO is charged with assisting in the formation of HOAs in those buildings and tenant associations in the cottage settlements to manage and maintain infrastructure.

Before rehabilitation is complete in 2013, the NEO will implement pilot projects this year, in which associations are founded and capacity-building and maintenance training is provided.

In Rustavi, the NEO has already selected two pilot buildings. It plans to train inhabitants of these buildings on how to form and manage associations, identify priorities, and develop annual work plans. The associations will also participate in small income generation grant projects, as well as will form teams that will be equipped with tools needed for maintenance and repairs.

Over the life of the project, the NEO anticipates to have a long-term sustainable management system in place for the 100 rehabilitated buildings and 38 new settlements, which are intended to operate for at least one year without subsidies following the end of project assistance.