May 17, 2024

"Furnace heating and outside toilets": how Almaty residents lived in dilapidated houses

Residents of Almaty houses built back in the 1950s are being relocated from dilapidated housing to new apartments. They are provided with comfortable apartments in modern residential complexes, instead of old apartments without any benefits of civilization. They were provided with this opportunity by "Renovation program of the residential stock in Almaty for 2021-2025", implemented by "Social and Entrepreneurial Corporation "Almaty" JSC (SEC "Almaty") jointly with its subsidiary Capital Construction Company of the Akimat of Almaty LLP (CCC).

The program involves the demolition of dilapidated houses with expired service life that are not earthquake-resistant and pose a threat to people's lives. Modern residential complexes with sports fields and parking, as well as other important facilities for the city, will be built in their place.

According to the terms of the renovation program, owners of dilapidated housing can get an apartment of equal size in a new building. Moreover, the new apartment will be on average 10 square meters larger than the previous one. At the same time, displaced residents will not have to pay extra for additional meters.

During the construction period, residents are provided with temporary housing without any rent. In addition, they have the opportunity to move to a permanent place of residence in a ready-made house from the housing stock of CCC.

Frame cane-fibre board house at 347 Raiymbek Str., where Svetlana Sinitskaya, an Almaty citizen, lived, was built in 1959. According to her, the building was in poor condition and unsafe for life. She and her neighbors voiced the problem of their dilapidated housing at a meeting with the Akim and asked to relocate them.

"We were afraid to live in this house: we could see the house's frame, the walls were crumbling, and the wiring was worn out. In addition, the housing conditions were poor, we used furnace heating and outdoor toilets", - Svetlana says.

In exchange to old housing, CCC provided Svetlana and her neighbours with new apartments in RC "Sulu Tan", area of which is more by approximately 16 square meters than the area of old apartments.

"We moved to the comfort class RC with beautiful yard and clean entrance areas. Increase in the area of new housing and availability of two loggias was a pleasant bonus for us. The area has a well-developed infrastructure, all required facilities are within walking distance. It is more than we could expect. We are very grateful to the administration of the city, SEC and CCC for our new life", - Svetlana shares her joy.

It should be noted that residents of dilapidated houses receive apartments in the final finish. The houses have already been connected to the Internet, a fire alarm system has been installed, new plumbing and earthenware, a gas or electric stove are provided. So the new residents do not have to invest extra funds — just move and live.

The advantages of this approach were also experienced by the former residents of the house at 18 Azovsky in Zhetysu district of Almaty, who moved to a new house at 28 Scryabin Street.

"We lived in a dilapidated house without basic amenities, without gas, hot water and heating for seven years. We tried to make heating with coal firewood. Moving into new housing was a real miracle for us, considering that it did not require any investments, and the area of the new apartments turned out to be even larger than it was before. In addition, I was very pleased with the layout. In general, the house is very beautiful and warm, and the area is nice," Farida Ishmemetova comments.

Comparing the old housing with the new one, the woman notes that she began to sleep more peacefully – no more concerns that the house will fall apart. She also doesn't have to heat it manually and heat the water every time. Now they don't have to think about these problems.

According to another Almaty resident, Antonina Ponamareva, she has lived all her life in a cane-fibre board house on 5 Volnaya Street, which was built without a foundation more than 70 years ago. The roof had collapsed a long time ago, there was no hot water or gas either.

"The state of the house was like a time bomb. The wiring was worn out, the roof was leaking, plaster was falling down, and the wooden crossbar rotted. There was no question of amenities - the plumbing and sewerage were made by the residents themselves, the bathrooms were in the kitchens or on the balcony. Due to the lack of gas, we used gas cylinders out of desperation and lived in constant fear – there were as many as 15 of them in the house!" Antonina said.

Recently, Antonina Fyodorovna's life has changed for the better – she moved to a new high-rise building on 28 Scryabin Street. The house is built of monolithic reinforced concrete, consists of 12 floors and 62 apartments, there is an underground parking inside. There are kindergartens, schools, shopping malls, markets, shops and squares in the vicinity of the house.

The renovation program is only four years old, during which time it has managed to make many Almaty families happy.

"Since the launch of the program, 64 dilapidated buildings have been demolished together with investors, and 23 (5-12 storey) new residential buildings have been built in their place. In total, over 2,200 people were resettled in 630 apartments. Now most of the dilapidated houses with expired service life are located in the Turksib and Zhetysu districts. There are 586 dilapidated houses in Turksib district, 143 dilapidated houses are in Zhetysu district. In general, 1,388 dilapidated houses with expired service life have been identified in Almaty, of which 688 houses are planned to be relocated by 2030, in which more than 30,000 people live. At the same time, 90% of the relocation is planned at the expense of investors," Anuar Gabdullin, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of SEC "Almaty".

It should be noted that CCC guarantees the rights and obligations of all parties, representatives of the company meet and discuss resettlement options individually with each resident of the dilapidated house.

"Despite the requests of the residents themselves, we cannot demolish a dilapidated house without the 100% consent of all residents. In such cases, we offer modern apartments from our own resettlement fund to residents who have agreed to relocate. In parallel, we are constantly negotiating to attract investors. Currently, as part of our joint activities, 11 houses are under construction in Almaty. The program has gained popularity, residents are willing to move to new homes, which allows us to improve the living conditions of citizens and the appearance of Almaty," Altynbek Nuratuly, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of CCC, said.