How Does the eRecovery Program Work in Ukraine?

May 10, 2024
Ukrainians have created a program enabling citizens to obtain compensation for destroyed or damaged housing as a result of aggression by the Russian Federation.

Before the full-scale invasion, Natalia Kulinicheva lived, together with her husband and sons, in Sloviansk. Their two-bedroom apartment, beautifully furnished and equipped, held memories of their family life: the first steps taken by the boys, their school achievements, their favorite bedtime book... Russian aggression destroyed it all.  

On September 11, 2022, a hostile enemy missile hit their building. One entrance was completely destroyed, including the family's apartment on the fifth floor. At first, part of the flat remained supported, but it collapsed entirely within just a few days. 

The family was fortunate to remain unharmed, as they had left Sloviansk by that time. Most of their belongings remained there: both material possessions acquired through years of hard work and priceless items holding memories of peaceful days. 

Olha Nechytailo, originally from Kramatorsk in Donetsk Region, shares a similar story. Inherited from her mother, the house in Sviatohirsk had been an important place for the woman. It was filled with positive feelings and cherished memories of her mom. It was a sanctuary for her family to unwind, recharge, and bond. However, in June 2022, the house in Sviatohirsk was destroyed due to active combat operations taking place nearby. 

Olha recalls a shell striking the building, causing the walls to crumble, windows to shatter, the roof to collapse, and the ceiling to pierce. The estate stood demolished - a stark reminder of shattered lives, echoing across Ukraine. 

Yuri Cherednychenko from the village of Zalyman in Izium District recounts that the Russians shelled the settlement with tanks, mortars, self-propelled artillery, helicopters, and aircraft. His home was destroyed in early July 2022.\ Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, marked by the killing of civilians, mass shelling of cities and villages, and the destruction of critical infrastructure. The aggressors targeted multi-story residential buildings and private houses, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. 

As of June 2023, over 163,000 residential properties were damaged. The total area of damaged or destroyed objects came to 87 million square meters, or 8.6% of Ukraine's total housing area. By February 2024, more than 250,000 verified private houses and apartments had suffered various levels of damage due to Russian aggression. 

What should you do when your house is destroyed? Where should you seek help when your apartment is damaged? Shortly after the full-scale invasion, efforts toward implementing the law, which ensures and regulates the compensation process, commenced. It came into effect in May 2023, and the state program was called eRecovery. 

How the program works 

As early as April 2022, Ukrainian MP Olena Shuliak developed a law on financial compensation for housing renovation. Within a year, the Ministry for Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, led by the Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration Oleksandr Kubrakov, with the support of international partners, implemented this law. The Law No. 2923-IX came into effect on May 22, 2023. Since that time, nearly 50,000 Ukrainians had received funds to renovate damaged homes, while thousands purchased new housing to replace those destroyed. 

The state eRecovery compensation program enables the owners of properties destroyed by Russian aggression to receive funds for repairs, purchase, or construction of new accommodation. The priority queue for allocating funds is legislatively defined -- it includes large families, people with disabilities, and military personnel. 

The entire process of receiving compensation takes place online and lasts up to 2 months, depending on the security situation in the region. The program's components operate on the basis of the Unified State Services' web portal "Diya": one can use an online application to apply for compensation. Notifications of fund allocation arrive through the same portal after a special commission has confirmed destruction.  

"Diya" enables the streamlining of the process from reporting destroyed housing to reserving funds for purchasing new property. This compensation system is unique to Ukraine, and after several months of full operation, it has already proven to be effective.  

Moreover, digitization prevents corruption at the interpersonal level. Since applications go through an electronic system and checklists regulate fund allocations, money is deposited into a specific bank account. They can only be spent on construction services and materials. Other categories of spending on goods will not pass through the banking system. As a result, Ukrainians have already been paid 4.3 billion UAH. 

Who Implements the Program 

The eRecovery program is implemented jointly by the Ministry for Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

It is supported by the TAPAS project, funded by USAID and UK Aid. Committee on Organization of State Power, Local Self-Government, Regional Development, and Urban Planning of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine assists it. Communication support was provided by the USAID HOVERLA Activity. 

The involvement of several major government institutions has facilitated the speedy and high-quality development and implementation of this challenging project.

Program development 

The program operates on several levels to accommodate individuals facing various circumstances: 

  • The program's initial phase involved providing compensation for housing repairs: citizens whose homes or apartments suffered minor damage could receive funds to restore their homes;
  • Following this, Ukrainians began receiving funds for major home renovations;
  • Another component of the state eRecovery program is providing owners of destroyed housing with the opportunity to receive a certificate to purchase new housing;.
  • In early 2024, the next service of the eRecovery program came into effect - financing the reconstruction of a private household on its land plot. Participants will receive funds directly into their accounts, which can be used for construction materials or the services of a contractor.
  • Responsible institutions are devising a mechanism for compensating people who have lost housing in occupied territories. The Ukrainian government does not have access to these areas to verify the destruction but is testing the use of satellite imagery and other information tools.

Program Results 

Obviously, the program cannot assist everyone at once, but Ukrainians have already witnessed the effectiveness of the project in a short space of time.  

Thus, Olga Nechytailo and her husband now reside in their own apartment in Ternopil, purchased with a housing certificate. "Our house in Sviatohirsk wasn't very big, but it had three rooms. In Ternopil, we were able to buy a one-bedroom apartment. We could have received a two-bedroom place in a new building, but it needed repairs. This contains some furniture, a fridge, and a washing machine. We're happy to have our own place to live with no need to rent," says Olga Vitaliivna. 

The Kulinichevy family from Sloviansk also received new accommodation. They have so far purchased half a townhouse in Bila Tserkva through the eRecovery certificate. It has two rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and parking space. "I'm satisfied with the program. I didn't expect the state to implement this in wartime. I thought payments and everything else would come after the war. We now have our own home," says Natalia. 

With the launch of the program, nearly 50,000 Ukrainians have so far received funds for repairing their damaged homes, while thousands have purchased new housing to replace completely destroyed ones.

Anastasiia Kovalenko