Roma are Europe’s largest ethnic minority and have for centuries formed an integral part of European society. However, despite efforts at national, European and international level to improve and advance their social inclusion, many Roma still face severe poverty, profound social exclusion, discrimination and barriers to decent living conditions. The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has been entrusted by the European Commission in March 2021 to manage the implementation of the Housing and Empowerment for Roma (HERO) Pilot Project for Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. The project is funded by the European Parliament.
The model of HERO will experiment with innovative approaches combining capacity building (such as employment support) and social support services for targeted Roma families with a mechanism mitigating the financial risks for financial intermediaries when granting housing micro-loans. HERO is to be implemented by country partnerships according to a common methodology in three countries: Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. The purpose of this Call for Proposals is the selection of one partnership to implement HERO per country, in close cooperation and coordination with the CEB. Pilot activities in the three countries are expected to run concurrently, benefit from transfer of experience between the three countries and generate joint learning to support further policy development at the EU level. Selected applicants in each country are expected to work in close collaboration with CEB and with social innovation experts contracted by CEB who will be lending support to the optimal implementation of the HERO Pilot Project.