One of their recent projects resulted in a proposal for the development of a sustainable social housing programme for vulnerable people. The housing stock in Albania is generally in very poor condition, yet often the new apartment buildings are beyond the budget of many ordinary Albanians. A sixth floor apartment in a building currently under construction that I saw recently is selling for 30,000 Euro. That may not sound like much to most of us, but it is a huge amount of money for people in this country.
The Albanian government aspires to solve the problem of the lack of good quality social housing within ten years – this is a similar timeframe to that other great aspiration of EU membership, and about as realistic. Hence the importance of projects like that being developed by IOM.
You may be wondering why I am telling you all this. IOM wanted someone to work on the English version of the report from this project and kindly offered me the job – my first job in Albania, and my first real employment in nearly two years. Unfortunately, it is only a short term contract, but naturally enough I am now convinced that IOM are jolly good eggs and sound chaps all round. You can read all about them here, and about their work in Albania here. If that's not enough for you, you can find out about the social housing project here.