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Czech Govt Agency for Social Inclusion in Romani Localities says Šluknov towns won't communicate

Prague, 28.1.2012 19:23, (ROMEA)

The Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion has published a summary of its activities in recent months in Šluknov district. The detailed records show what the Agency has offered each town and what the town did with the offer.

Along with a decline in the media attention paid to Šluknov around the problem of social exclusion, given that the situation has somewhat calmed, the Agency says it has unfortunately noted a decline in the preparedness and willingness of various towns to adopt and develop fundamental, important measures aimed at social integration in their areas. Despite partial progress, the Agency reports that most of the towns have been either passive or directly negative toward the proposals the Agency has submitted to them. Communication with the leadership of Rumburk, Šluknov and Varnsdorf is reportedly the most problematic.

The calming of the situation has not been caused by any improvements in the situation of socially excluded citizens in Šluknov district. The Agency predicts the situation will deteriorate as result of the so-called "social reforms" and says there is a risk tensions will escalate in the spring, among other reasons because the regional elections take place in the fall.

VARNSDORF

The working group appointed by the mayor has continued its activity and reviewed suggested measures developed by the Agency. Those proposals included the following priorities:

1.) Municipal housing policy (the decision on how all the housing capacity will be used)

2.) Support for nonprofit organizations by the town

3.) Systematization of Romani children's preschool and school preparations

4.) Collaboration between child welfare authorities, schools, and the Police of the Czech Republic

5.) Romani police assistants for crime prevention, Community Policing

6.) Introduction of the "10 %" condition into town tenders, establishment of social enterprises

7.) Regulation of scrapyards – municipal edict

8.) Public notice on regulation of gaming room

9.) Media, communication with the public, and inclusion of the public

At the working meetings, the experiences of the town of Litvínov with the transparent housing system were presented and the town was given proposals on how to introduce a transparent housing system, including proposals for changes at the TGM and Lounská street residential hotels. The town presented proposals for the transparent housing system and proposed changes at the TGM residential hotels to the public at a public meeting on 7 November 2011, but the Town Council has not taken a decision on them.

The town had been planning to reconstruct one part of the TGM building so as to turn it into an office for field social workers, a drop-in center for children and youth, and a shelter, and to use the larger part of the building as "social apartments". The Agency did not view that plan as realistic and cannot presume the reconstruction will actually take place. It is not appropriate to combine these services in one building. The Agency has proposed that the field social workers' office and drop-in center be moved out of the TGM residential hotel into another building that children living elsewhere in the town would want to visit, not just children living in the residential hotel.

A new, stricter set of housing regulations was adopted for the municipally-owned TGM residential hotel and the satellite dishes that residents had erected on the building were removed. The town did not adopt any other essential changes with respect to housing. The Town Council has concluded an agreement with the owner of the SPORT residential hotel on providing crisis housing to citizens of the town. The town has also introduced the option of disbursing welfare payments through postal order instead of in cash should a recipient violate the rules.

Measures in the area of security were also recommended, namely, Community Policing and the adoption of crime prevention assistants. The Czech Interior Ministry offered to finance a CCTV system and the assistants, as well as other measures.

The town submitted a request for the CCTV system and the establishment of a police station near the SPORT, but refused to request funding for crime prevention assistants. From its own resources, the town increased the number of police officers on the municipal force from 14 to 21. The town also filed a request for subsidies to perform field social work during 2012.

There were disagreements within the working group and the town subsequently demanded the Agency's proposals be discussed at the meetings without Agency representatives being present. The working group's activities were then suspended completely. After the regular meetings were suspended, a meeting was held in Varnsdorf on 30 November 2011 between the town leadership and the director of the Agency. The town was accommodating, saying it had to focus on the necessary changes and fundraising and that it plans to collaborate with the Agency further. The Agency then sent a letter to the town proposing that it appoint a working group with a specific task, i.e., listing the proposed measures the working group is to focus on and implement. The town then broke its promise and postponed its review of these issues from December to January. The mayor has said the appointment of the working group and its task will be discussed at the January meeting of the Town Council.

An initiative of nonprofit organizations is planning to open a preschool club for children from socially disadvantaged environments in Varnsdorf.

RUMBURK

The Agency has suggested to the mayor more than once that he appoint and convene a working group, but no such group has been established. The Agency director has also been communicating with the mayor and emphasizing that the appointment of a working group is the first step towards all other effective action.

An initiative of nonprofit organizations is planning to open a preschool club for children from socially disadvantaged environments in Rumburk. Local nonprofits providing social services and social rehabilitation have been supported in designing a project called "Purchase and reconstruction of a building with facilities for social services and social rehabilitation." The local [Agency] consultant participated in the consultation of this project at the Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry. An initiative of nonprofit organizations and citizens of Šluknov district also collaborated with local clergy to distribute gifts from children in Prague and elsewhere in Šluknov district to the children of poor families in Rumburk.

ŠLUKNOV

The Agency is continuing its activities with the working group of educational workers and nonprofit organizations. Its local consultant has collaborated with municipal workers on a crime prevention project and on designing a Crime Prevention Plan. The Oblastní charita (Area Charity) was also supported in developing a request for a subsidy for field social work, registering its Social Activation Services for Families with Children, and purchasing real estate.

KRÁSNÁ LÍPA

The town of Krásná Lípa was supported through coordinating its design of a project for submission to IOP 3.1b "Reconstruction of a Social Integration Center", which will be the headquarters for various kinds of social services.

JIŘÍKOV

The town of Jiříkov was supported through consulting on its project to reconstruct its drop-in facility for children and youth.

OTHER CONSULTATIONS

The Agency consulted on projects with MAS Šluknovsko, which collaborates with municipalities in Šluknov district, on a plan to establish social enterprises there. The next meetings will concern the job description of the social enterprises and the option to acquire financing for them from IOP 3.1 c).

Together with the Regional Romani Coordinator, Ms Kubecová, a meeting of field social workers from Šluknov district was held in October, followed by regular monthly meetings convened for the purposes of education and mutual exchange of experiences. In November the director of Centrom presented that organization's programs to the group. In December the group organized a seminar entitled "Co-dependency as a specific crisis state", which was attended by 19 people. In January the plan is to hold a seminar for field social workers entitled "Specifics of the education of children from socially disadvantaged environments". In February there will be a meeting with the director of the Labor Office on the topic of the "social reforms".

A two-year process of community planning has been initiated in Šluknov district. A working group entitled Services for Persons Who are Socially Excluded or at Risk of Social Exclusion has been established. A catalog of services and a plan to develop social services work will be created as part of the community planning.

At the start of January, the Agency completed its research project entitled "Analysis of migration trends into Šluknov district". The Agency requested the opportunity to present its findings at the next meeting of the Association for the Development of Šluknov District (Sdružení pro rozvoj Šluknovska), where the Agency will also discuss the aims of its work in the area during 2012 with the participating municipalities. The Agency is meant to end its work there at the end of this year. This meeting is meant to indirectly motivate the municipalities to strengthen their resolve to implement pro-integration measures.

Šluknov district project advising

Projects being implemented

Project title: Reconstruction of a drop-in facility for children and youth

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Town of Česká Kamenice

Target group: Children and youth

Key activities: Reconstruction of spaces

Total support requested: CZK 5 000 000

Status: Approved

Project title: Purchase and reconstruction of a Homeless Shelter

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Cedr, o. s.

Target group: Homeless people

Key activities: Purchase and reconstruction of building, equipment, vehicle

Total support requested: CZK 10 000 000

Status: Approved

Project title: I Have Work

Operational program: OP LZZ 4.3

Applicant: Cedr, o. s.

Target group: Long-term unemployed people

Key activities: Re-qualification, support for employment

Total support requested: CZK 3 400 000

Number of recipients of support: 22 people

Status: Approved

Project requests awaiting response/rejected/being reworked

Project title: Reconstruction of the Center for Social Integration

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Town of Krásná Lípa

Target group: People from socially excluded localities

Key activities: Reconstruction of a building

Total support requested: CZK 20 000 000

Status: Under review

Project title: Work without Barriers

Operational program: OP LZZ tender no. 75

Applicant: Town of Krásná Lípa

Target group: Job-seekers

Key activities: Diagnosis and counseling, motivation, re-qualification, employment (22 new jobs)

Total support requested: CZK 6 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 60 people

Status: Under review

Project title: Support for Employment in Šluknov District

Operational program: OP LZZ tender no. 75

Applicant: Agentura Pondělí, o. s.

Target group: Job-seekers

Key activities: Diagnosis, training in the development of work skills and ergo-therapy, assistance in finding work, audit of employment opportunities, support in the workplace, work assistance, counseling, consultation

Total support requested: CZK 3 900 000

Number of recipients of support: 60 people

Status: Under review

Project title: Apprenticeship is the Way

Operational program: OP LZZ tender no. 75

Applicant: Kostka Krásná Lípa

Target group: Job-seekers

Key activities: Motivation and diagnosis, re-qualification, subsidized employment

Total support requested: CZK 6 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 20 people

Status: Under review

Project title: Learn and Work

Operational program: OP LZZ tender no. 75

Applicant: Town of Šluknov

Target group: Job-seekers

Key activities: Diagnosis/counseling program, re-qualification, acquisition of needed competencies for the labor market, facilitating employment, subsidized jobs

Total support requested: CZK 6 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 40 people

Status: Under review

Project title: Flexibility and Development

Operational program: OP LZZ tender no. 76

Applicant: Kostka Krásná Lípa

Target group: Disadvantaged persons returning to the labor market

Key activities: Education, subsidized jobs with gender measures

Total support requested: CZK 5 800 000

Number of recipients of support: 20 people

Status: Not supported

Project applications ready to submit or almost completed

roject title: Reconstruction of a drop-in facility for children and youth

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Town of Jiříkov

Target group: Children and youth

Key activities: Reconstruction and equipping of the building

Total support requested: CZK 10 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 150 people

Status: Application to be submitted in January 2012

Project title: Reconstruction of Social Rehabilitation

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Agentura Pondělí, o. s.

Target group: People living in socially excluded localities, disabled people

Key activities: Purchase, reconstruction and equipping of the building

Total support requested: CZK 10 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 100 people

Status: Application to be submitted in January 2012

Draft projects

Project title: Reconstruction of Center for Social Services

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Town of Varnsdorf

Target group: People living in socially excluded localities

Key activities: Reconstruction of spaces

Total support requested: CZK 20 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 300 people

Status: postponed

Project title: Reconstruction of a Shelter for Mothers with Children

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Town of Rumburk

Target group: At-risk mothers with children

Key activities: Reconstruction and outfitting of the building

Total support requested: CZK 15 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 20 people

Status: postponed

Project title: Reconstruction of a Shelter for Mothers with Children

Operational program: IOP 3.1b

Applicant: Town of Šluknov

Target group: At-risk mothers with children

Key activities: Reconstruction of the building

Total support requested: CZK 15 000 000

Number of recipients of support: 20 people

Status: cancelled

Project title: Social Enterprise

Operational program: IOP 3.1c

Applicant: MAS Šluknovsko

Target group: Job-seekers

Status: in preparation

Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Romani Localities, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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