Housing and Societal Exclusion of Internally Placed Persons in Ukraine

Authors: Beth Mitchneck*, University of Arizona, Jane Zavisca, University of Arizona, Theodore Gerber, University of Wisconsin Madison
Topics: Eurasia, Migration, Population Geography
Keywords: Housing, Displaced People, Ukraine, Policy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Although housing is a well-known need of displaced populations, in-depth studies of the housing experiences of internally displaced people (IDPs) are rare. In post-Soviet contexts, housing holds special significance not only for material wellbeing, but for social and political inclusion. Four years into Ukraine’s displacement crisis, housing is the primary barrier that IDPs identify to full social integration into their new communities—more significant than employment or income. The vast majority of Ukrainians own their homes mortgage-free as a result of privatization of Soviet-era residences. By contrast, most of Ukraine’s nearly 2 million IDPs rent private housing, which is often substandard, unaffordable, and insecure. Prospects for mobility are limited by underdeveloped rental and mortgage markets and a decimated public housing sector. Lack of decent and secure housing is associated with a wide range of negative outcomes, including for subjective wellbeing, sense of belonging, social network formation, and voter enfranchisement. We document these disparities and their consequences using a new survey of IDPs and the local population in six regions of Ukraine, part of a larger comparative study on housing and societal stability in the post-Soviet region. We conclude with policy recommendations for international aid to move beyond addressing basic humanitarian needs to stabilizing livelihoods and communities through affordable housing finance.

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