Independent Portal Павлоград covers city and district news. In the fall of 2023, we embarked on the implementation of a project titled “Housing for IDPs: Studying the Problem and Finding Solutions through the Development of a Multimedia Platform – Independent Portal Павлоград” The title reflects the essence, we tried to solve the problem through baby steps. That means exploring how abandoned buildings, wastelands, vacant apartments, and unfinished structures can be repurposed and utilized effectively.

Currently, more than 19 thousand officially registered internally displaced persons live in Pavlohrad. This is, in fact, every fifth resident of the city. Displaced persons need housing. There are many abandoned buildings and unattended property in Pavlohrad, including apartments.

As part of the project, we sent journalistic requests regarding some abandoned buildings, and also organized a round table and discussion. We invited the members of Public Council, lawyers, and representatives of IDP Council in Pavlograd, Legal Department, Department of Public Utilities and Construction of the Pavlohrad City Council, Department of Communal Property, Senior Lawyer of the Free Secondary Legal Assistance Center, and Citizen Registration Department. We identified the owners of buildings and the reasons why they are not being reconstructed (these are not only problems of funds but also conflicts of legislation). At this meeting, it was proposed to create a working group and hold its meetings once a month with prior agreement. The working group will develop a roadmap for identifying abandoned apartments that may later become social housing. The necessary changes to the legislation were also discussed. We submitted petitions through the Pavlohrad Public Council to the Cabinet of Ministers, Verkhovna Rada, and relevant ministries, addressing the issues of “wasteland,” buildings of the State Joint-Stock Company “Khlib Ukraiiny,” and closed kindergartens. Also, we highlighted the opportunity for the city to apply to the Ukraine Restoration Fund. This Fund will be used to finance the renovation of a hostel for IDPs in Promyslova Street. In the future, according to MP Roman Kaptielov, as he mentioned in an interview with our publication, it is necessary to continue the practice of identifying abandoned buildings that can be renovated for housing and submitting them to state programs for restoration.

Meeting of the newly formed housing working group

“During the project and within the working group of the Public Council, we observed the existence of registers for such apartments, and there are dedicated entities managing them. We discussed their condition at the round table. What is needed is to fill out the registry. Today, we are formulating an action algorithm and intend to distribute it among the condominium board leaders. Our public organization unites more than 100 condominiums, and we can disseminate information about this algorithm,” comments Oksana Horova, the Chairperson of the Public Council of NGO “Resource Center – Epicenter of Changes” and one of the experts of the journalistic project Павлоград

We have combined articles for the project under the section “New Neighbors – New Housing for IDPs”, all the materials may be found there.

Additionally, thanks to the project, a new website logo has been created – modern and aesthetically pleasing. It has already received many positive reviews from our readers.

During the project’s implementation, the website’s publications garnered nearly 290 thousand views. According to Google Analytics, the website is visited by about 70 thousand users every month. Facebook has increased by 38.8% and Instagram by 17.7%. Views of materials on the site increased by 9.3%. The average duration of views of website materials increased by 16.2%.

Video shooting with psychologist Oleksandra Bielieninnik, who provided useful tips for IDPs

It should be noted that the project was implemented during challenging times when the entire country witnessed enemy missiles and Shahed flying toward Pavlohrad. However, neither the website’s editorial staff nor the public activists we worked with left the city; instead, we tried to solve problems together and locally.

“The project significantly boosted our editorial staff. Readers observed that we not only provide daily coverage of current news (crime, utility services, social sphere, etc.) but are also capable of delving into serious topics, crafting analytical materials, and producing video content. We are very grateful to the project for taking such steps in the development of the website,” said Tetiana Volkova, the editor of the Independent Portal Павлоград

Unfortunately, we cannot say in a short period of time that we managed to eliminate abandoned buildings. However, with our publications and activities, the editorial staff managed to draw attention to the problem, outline solutions to this complex issue, and engage key stakeholders to advocate for the transformation of abandoned buildings into assets that will benefit the community. A working group has been established and will continue to work. We are eagerly awaiting responses to our requests from central authorities, and we look forward to covering the transformation of a renovated hostel for IDPs in the city. We do hope, that there will be more such projects!

Author of this publication: Tetiana Volkova, Editor-in-Chief of Independent Portal Павлоград, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

This publication was created with the support of the European Union. The content is the sole responsibility of the Ukrainian Media Business Association and does not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union, whose financial support made the project possible.