Czech city backtracks on scope of plan to house homeless, cutting the units to be offered by half
The Czech city of Brno wants to allocate 60 apartments for the social housing of families with minor children and individuals who are homeless, Deputy Mayor Oliver Pospíšil (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) announced to journalists on 2 May. The local assembly must still approve the measure.
If adopted, the city can then apply for a subsidy from one of two public tenders issued by the Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry (MPSV). Almost CZK 25 million [EUR 970 000] could be made available for this purpose if their application succeeds.
Originally the city wanted to offer as many as 120 such apartments for these purposes but halved that number because of the conditions of one of the tenders. Former Deputy Mayor Matěj Hollan (Live Brno - Žít Brno) is criticizing the proposal.
Currently Brno has almost 200 such social apartments available. Projects to end homelessness were introduced by the Live Brno movement during its previous local coalition government, led by the ANO movement.
By doing so, Brno inspired other cities to apply for the MPSV subsidies. After the recent elections a new local coalition government took power in Brno, led by the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), which took exception to such projects for ending homelessness.
Eventually, however, the city council, comprised of ODS, the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), the Pirates and ČSSD, approved some projects for housing families and individuals in need. The MPSV money cannot be used to either equip or repair apartment units, but it can be used, for example, to hire social workers.
Brno could draw up to CZK 17 million [EUR 660 000] from one of the public tenders for 40 apartment units to be awarded to those in need, such as single mothers, senior citizens, families with minor children or young adults leaving institutional care. The city could also draw more than CZK 7 million [EUR 270 000] from a second tender for as many as 20 apartment units for homeless persons.
Originally the city wanted to apply for support for as many as 80 units from that tender. One of its conditions, however, is that 70 % of the units supported must not be situated in excluded localities, which for some reason has motivated the city to reduce the number of units it is applying for.
Brno has almost 30 000 apartments, but most are administered by the various municipal departments. Brno City Hall itself, according to Deputy Mayor Pospíšil, manages about 600 units for which there is little turnover, and the city would apparently therefore not be able to arrange for the new units to be located anywhere but in excluded localities.
The units would have to be acquired by City Hall from the municipal departments. "From past experience we know that [municipal departments] are cautious about social housing projects because of their negative influences," the Deputy Mayor said.
Ex-Deputy Mayor Hollan, however, believes offering 20 units for homeless people is not enough. "It is incomprehensible why the coalition of ODS and the Pirates is allocating just 20 units for those purposes," he said.
"This cannot be considered an actual solution to homelessness. The city makes 600 units available on an annual basis, about 170 just in the Brno-střed municipal department alone, which is also administered by ODS," the former Deputy Mayor pointed out.
"I especially cannot comprehend this from the Pirates, who at the national level are advocating the adoption of a social housing law and announced in Prague that they will resolve the homelessness of all families, but in Brno the Pirates are part of a coalition that doesn't know how to provide more than 20 units for that purpose," Hollan said. In response, Deputy Mayor Tomáš Koláčný (Pirates) said he could imagine more units for those purposes, but City Hall has to approach the issue taking the conditions of the tender into account and with the awareness that unoccupied apartments exist mainly in the municipal departments of Brno-sever and Brno-střed.
Many of those units are exactly situated in an excluded locality and the funding cannot, therefore, be used for them. However, Koláčný said he would investigate the option of allocating 50 apartments through the first tender, which does not have such a condition, instead of 40.
- How a Romani family in the Czech Republic lost their housing through no fault of their own
- Analysis: Czech society remains blind to how the poorest of the poor are (not) housed
- Regional Roma association opposes housing benefit-free zones in yet another Czech city
- Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion criticizes housing benefit-free zones
- Czech Health and Labor ministers visit infamous housing estate with MPs
- Yet another Czech city announces its entire territory to be a housing benefit-free zone
- Czech Govt will not draft social housing law or anti-poverty measures
- Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion does not support housing benefit-free zones in Liberec
- Czech city with homeless evictees refused Govt Agency for Social Inclusion help, some local Roma petitioned against it
- Families with children facing eviction sue Czech city for putting them at risk of homelessness
- Czech Caritas says changes to housing benefit may launch an avalanche of homelessness
- Czech Republic must change its approach to homelessness, international experts advise
- Czech Police say their hands are tied as Romani tenant and her children are unlawfully made homeless by Prague landlord trafficking in poverty
- Czech Television reports hundreds of Romani people to become homeless in the New Year
- Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister meets with homeless people
- Czech city of Brno wants to try groundbreaking project for homeless people by giving them apartments
- Czech Labor Ministry says homelessness will not rise because of housing benefit ambiguity
- Commentary: Czech Human Rights Minister wakes up on homelessness - better late than later?
- Czech PM Sobotka does not want more homelessness, demands law be changed
- Czech experts warn rising homelessness is underway
- Czech towns begin to "produce" hundreds of newly homeless people after law has potentially catastrophic effect
- Czech Republic: 17.5 years for two counts of attempted murder of homeless people
- Analysis: Neo-Nazi murders of homeless in Czech Republic may not even be counted as such
- Czech DSSS supporter tells court that "gypsies" and homeless people are better off dead
- Czech President Havel protested against the wall separating non-Roma from Roma on Matiční Street 20 years ago
- Czech court rules no mass vote-buying in local elections in Bílina this time, results stand
- Czech city declares its entire territory a ghetto for harsh housing benefit restrictions - which don't deliver
- International Romani amateur boxing match won by team from Slovakia
- Czech city synonymous with ethnic segregation sets up "Committee to Map and Eliminate Negative Social Phenomena"
- Czech mayor heading new commission to design changes to housing benefits
- Czech court annuls board of directors of Ústecký Region's biggest housing cooperative
- On the 50th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's short-lived Union of Gypsies-Roma, community members recall its hopes
- VIDEO: Ostentatious homes built by Roma community in Romania reflect their desire for prestige
- Infamous housing estate in Slovakia is finally turning around - continued
- Czech institute says city's hope of state investment into "container" housing may be in vain
- Prague City Council disagrees with Czech bill to consolidate two housing benefits into one