YEREVAN — The Armenian government formally decided on Thursday to allocate 30 billion drams ($75 million) for the housing needs of tens of thousands of forcibly displaced Karabakh Armenians who have taken refuge in Armenia since last month’s Azerbaijani military offensive.
Every refugee lacking decent housing is to receive 50,000 drams ($125) per month to pay rent and utility bills at least until next March. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan pledged such support during the mass exodus of over 100,000 Karabakh Armenians who lived in the region as of September 19.
The government has housed more than half of the refugees in hotels, disused public buildings and empty village houses. It now expects 40,000 of them to apply for the housing compensation scheme this month.
“We are thereby encouraging our compatriots to rent apartments,” Pashinyan said during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan. He suggested that the sums allocated to them should be enough to cover their housing expenses.
Labor and Social Affairs Minister Narek Mkrtchyan clarified that starting from next month those refugees who own homes in Armenia or continue to live in temporary shelters provided by the government will not be eligible for this financial aid.
The government approved on Thursday unpublicized rules for the distribution of such humanitarian assistance. The aid also includes a one-off cash payment of 100,000 drams ($260) to every refugee. Officials say 80 percent of the displaced Karabakh Armenians have already received that money.