As a consequence of the armed conflicts in the 1990s, over three million people were displaced both within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Over the past two decades, sustained efforts on the part of the four affected states, as well as support from the international community, have enabled the majority of those affected to return home or find other durable solutions. However, despite these efforts, almost half a million people remain displaced throughout the region.

The process of selecting beneficiaries is a crucial element of the RHP. Its purpose is to ensure that RHP housing units are provided to those refugees and IDPs that are most vulnerable and most in need. Potential beneficiaries are informed about the RHP thanks to the wide information campaigns conducted by the Partner Countries since March 2013, in close coordination with UNHCR and OSCE

Beneficiary stories

The stories of RHP beneficiaries below aim at capturing the reality of refugee families who have lived in tents and containers, moved from one relative to another, or managed to build at least some kind of a roof over their heads, during the past two decades. Some of the pictures are kindly provided by the UNHCR.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Šerif Guta, Foča
Re/construction of houses
Sub-project BiH1

Republic of Croatia

Ilinka Knezevic, Knin
Purchase of apartments
Sub-project HR2


Bora Cvijetic, Niksic
Multi-apartment building
Sub-project MNE1

Republic of Serbia

Ilija Bogovac, Indjija
Construction material
Sub-project SRB1

Fehim Gondzic, Olovo
Construction of houses
Sub-project BiH1

Petar Eror, Korenica
Multi-apartment building
Sub-project HR1

Draga Vujovic, Niksic
Multi-apartment building
Sub-project MNE1

Nenad Tumara, Pecinci
Pre-fabricated house
Sub-project SRB1


Categories of Beneficiaries Eligible for Support

The following priority categories have been identified by the Partner Countries, together with the UNHCR:


All 1991-1995 refugees, regardless of their status, who are residents of collective centres or other forms of collective accommodations, either formal or informal.


Displaced persons accommodated in collective centres and private accommodations in Croatia.


All 1991-1995 vulnerable refugees accommodated privately and all former occupancy right holders without a durable solution in their country of origin or reception country. For the purpose of the Regional Housing Programme, the vulnerability criteria applied by UNHCR in countries in the region are also to be applied here.


Vulnerable displaced persons outside collective centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


All vulnerable returnees to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and all vulnerable returnees who have already returned to Croatia but who do not have a durable solution either in the country of origin or in the reception country.


Vulnerable persons displaced in Montenegro in 1999. This was especially agreed by the participating countries given that the Regional Housing Programme in other countries deals only with 1991-1995 refugees.

 BiH1 Reconstruction of houses


Serif Guta, together with his 12 family members, returned from Sarajevo to his damaged house. They have lived there with monthly budget of EUR 150, which they received as assistance for their child with health problems. The family house is located in a mountain village of Foca, where winters can bring up to two meters of snow. The reconstruction of the house, financed under the RHP project BiH1, started in November 2015. The family moved-in in April 2016.


 HR2 Purchase of apartments

Ilinka Knezevic was born in 1936 in Croatia. Together with her husband Nikola Knezevic (deceased in 2000), Ilinka returned in 1997 to Croatia from Serbia, where the family was in refuge. They moved into her husband's old family house, without basic utilities, located in Oton-Brdo village near Knin. Ilinka, who is retired, has a son Dragan who lives with his daughter in the Netherlands but plans to come back to Croatia. Ilinka received the keys to an apartment in Knin in December 2014. 


 MNE1 Multi-apartment building

Bora Cvijetic fled from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina to Niksic, Montenegro in 1992. She’s been living with her uncle’s family for 23 years. As the family grew, there were sometimes more than 12 members in the house. Bora has a progressive muscle dystrophy that tied her to a wheel-chair. As one of the most vulnerable beneficiaries, in the summer of 2016 Bora received an apartment at the ground level of the RHP building in Niksic.


 SRB1 Construction material

Bogovac is one of the 129 families who received packages of building material in 2015, which enabled them to complete the construction of their houses. When the family fled from the village of Koljane in Croatia in 1995, they arrived in Indjija. Throughout the years they managed to acquire a plot of land and started building a house. Today, Ilija and his family finally have a roof over their heads. They live in a new, comfortable two-level house.


 BiH1 Construction of houses

Fehim Gondzic had been living with his wife Dzemila and their three children in Olovo, where they fled from war in 1992. For four years they lived in a dilapidated pre-fab house. Their 15-year old son had to undergo two heart surgeries and still has to take medication, the cost of which exceeds the disability and child allowances – the family’s only regular monthly income. After years of trying, the Olovo municipality granted a plot of land to Fehim and his family, and through the RHP, the new family house was built in 2016.


 HR1 Multi-apartment building

Petar Eror lived for years in a neglected house in his native Bunic village near Korenica, to which he returned after years of refuge in Serbia. Suffering from a poor health condition, he lives of his pension that he had earned working as the chief of police before the war.  Since 1999, he applied several times for a housing solution in Korenica. Finally, Petar received an apartment in the RHP building and moved in in summer 2015.


 MNE1 Multi-apartment building

Draga Vujovic lived in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1992. Due to the war, she and her family were forced to leave her home and seek safety in Niksic, Montenegro. Draga is a mother of two sons who are both employed sporadically and passionate cyclists, members of a local cycling club. Almost 25 years later, Draga and her sons moved into a new apartment in the RHP building for 62 families in Niksic.


 SRB1 Pre-fabricated house

Nenad Tumara and his mother had been living in Pecinci since the nineties, when they fled from Croatia. It was very hard to find an apartment, because as soon as people in Vojvodina got the information that there are many refugees coming from Croatia, the real estate prices rose immediately. Since then they had been living on the same plot of land in the shack, except for a short period of time, when the storm damaged the roof. After years of applying for support, in 2016 Nenad and his mother moved into newly-built pre-fabricated house.