How much of your yearly salary goes to filling up your car tank with gasoline? For the average American, it takes about 0.5% of one’s total income for the year. For the average Armenian it’s not as simple – taking up a total of 29% of their yearly earnings. The average Armenian is on welfare and is granted a low sum of $777.84 a year, making it difficult to keep up with simple things such as gasoline, eggs, or cold medicine.
Josette Bonafino, executive director of MYX: Multicultural Youth eXchange, a Philadelphia-based 501(c)3 organization, wanted to shed some light on this devastating issue by teaming up with I-SITE to create the Armenian Housing Crisis app, to raise awareness of the chronic poverty housing in Armenia and to offer support to some of the country’s most vulnerable families.
In 1988, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck northern Armenia, destroying much of Vanadzor, the third-largest city. To help deal with the earthquake induced housing crisis, the Soviet government set up temporary villages of “domiks” – small houses made from metal shipping containers – on the outskirts of Vanadzor and other quake affected cities. More than two decades later, over 7,000 Armenian families still live in these deplorable conditions.
The Armenian Housing Crisis app explores the country’s current state with video interviews from domik residents, interactive infographics, a responsive map and an opportunity to help provide dignity, health and comfort to some of Vanadazor’s most vulnerable families.