News Society, 27/09/2016

Social Services Threatened as Charities Face Eviction

Station Kharkiv, one of the city’s largest volunteer organizations, is facing the loss of its offices after donors told the organization that they could no longer provide sufficient funds to cover the rent of the premises.

The two-storey building at 25 Dmytrivska Street provides working space for 70 volunteers, and rooms for IDPs education, training, and psychological counselling.

It could have to be surrendered from January 1, 2017, the head of the organization, Yulia Konotoptseva, said on Friday.

The organizaton was established to provide social services to IDPs in May 2014. It last year received an award for its work from Refugees International. From this year, it has also taken over responsibility from public bodies for the provision of a range of essential services to the wider population in need and opened 4 branches in Kharkiv region – in Izyum, Balakliya, Barvenkovo and Kupyansk.

The current monthly rent bill for the organization’s premises is 35,000 hryvnias (about $1500).

The NGO co-founder Yulia Pimenova this morning told KhO that the organization had applied for support to Kharkiv’s city and regional authorities and was awaiting their decisions. She said that the organization expected to be informed within two weeks as to whether or not its requests for public funds had been successful, after which, if they had not, it would begin looking for other option.

Meanwhile another charity, Adaptation Cultural Center (ACCentre), which provides physiological, educational and financial assistance to IDPs, is also facing eviction from its offices on November 1st because it cannot cover its 13,000 hryvnia ($500) monthly rent bill.

“The problem is that the policy of international funds is to help the organization to get established and [become] mostly independent, and then state organizations should ‘pick it up’ financially, meaning rent and other expenses. But in our case, the state only picks up something that’s profitable for itself”, said the head of the organization, Zhenya Diss (Eugenia Levinshtein).