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Czech initiative: Residential hotel tenants need rapid assistance

Ústí nad Labem, 2.2.2013 20:38, (ROMEA)

News server Romea.cz is translating in full below a press release from the Housing for All (Bydlení pro všechny) initiative on the current situation at the residential hotel in the Krásné Březno quarter of Ústí nad Labem. According to information from one of the Romani tenants, everyone occupying the residential hotel must move out by Tuesday at the very latest. Of course, everyone is now sleeping in the cold at the property because the heat has been disconnected.

Press release from the Housing for All (Bydlení pro všechny) initiative:

The residential hotel in Krásné Březno has been without electricity, heat, or running water since yesterday. There are still 40 of the hotel's original occupants, including children, living in the property, those who have been unable to find other accommodation that they could afford. They continue to be supported by initiative volunteers  delivering them hot meals.

"The situation is really critical and we are calling on the responsible bodies to immediately begin constructively addressing it," said initiative spokesperson Dalibor Záhora. "We are primarily calling on the municipal social welfare department to take proactive measures to protect both the children involved and their rights."

One of the families at the residential hotel has a boy who is living with Down syndrome. According to our information, none of the responsible officials have involved themselves in his case yet.

"We are asking for help from charities, civil society, and nonprofit organizations. We are not able to resolve this situation in just a few days, especially since neither People in Need (Člověk v tísni), the state administration, nor the town have been able to resolve it during the past few months," said a representative of the families, Romani activist Ivanka Mariposa Čonková.

"Since yesterday we have been inspecting the apartments that the People in Need organization publicized as potentially available. We are also, of course, recording the differences between the list that was recently publicized and the offers of apartments that were actually made to the families evacuated from Předlice as part of their individual plans," said initiative activist Lenka Novotná.

In the file for Ms Iveta Jaslová, for example, only one specific offer is listed as having been made to her, that of two apartments, a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom, owned by a Mr Gombára. The offer was made on 11 December 2012. Ms Jaslová rejects the allegations that she has not actively sought other housing.

"We found the apartments on U jeslí street ourselves. We wanted to move there. A representative of People in Need negotiated the move with the owner and later told us that he had withdrawn his offer because the other tenants protested that they did not want Romani neighbors," Ms Jaslová says. She previously lived in the building in the Předlice quarter that was evacuated.

Two other women who previously lived in that building never ended their cooperation with People in Need and are still their clients. However, we are not aware of any specific activity undertaken by that organization on their behalf at this time.

Donations to immediately address the situation at the residential hotel can be sent to bank account 2500271703/2010 (variable symbol 3332013 - put "ubytovna" in the message space). This is a transparent account belonging to the Konexe civic association. The funds will be used to purchase temporary heating and lighting and similar necessary items for the families.

fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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