Czech Human Rights Minister: Housing benefits legislation is unsustainable and must be changed
Today at 9:30 AM a session of the Czech Government's Legislative Council began at which Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier added the agenda item of discussing the approval of housing benefits. Dienstbier intends to publish an analysis of the constitutionality of recently-adopted legislation according to which municipalities, not the state, approve the disbursal of these public benefits.
The legislation has been in force since May and some municipalities have exploited it to reject housing benefits for persons living in residential hotels across the board. "The analysis of the possible impacts of this amendment and what has happened in practice to date clearly demonstrates that the existing legislation is not sustainable in the long run and that it is necessary to immediately update it. In this connection I intend to ask the Legislative Council, as an independent, expert advisory body, to evaluate the constitutionality of this amendment," said Dienstbier.
"This amendment, in practice, is causing indignation among citizens and municipalities - because of it, municipalities, on the basis of their own considerations, are able to either approve or deny these benefits. Nonprofit organizations say that the number of applicants who might lose their benefits could be as many as 2 200 in Bohumín and Ostrava, which means as many as 7 000 people, including children, might end up without housing. In practice, this will cause big complications," he warned.
Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová is responsible for aid to those in material distress. Dienstbier called on her to collaborate with the Legislative Council on resolving the situation.
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