Czech Platform for Social Housing approves of Government's Concept
Prior to the last Czech election, the parties now governing as a coalition promised to launch a new social housing system to aid the genuinely needy - people without housing and those for whom dignified accommodation is too expensive. The parties unanimously promised to draft a social housing law, to enhance the role of municipalities in providing housing, and to invest the necessary financing into the system.
Is the new Government keeping those promises? Emil Jíra, an expert on the issue of extreme social exclusion, says it is: "The Government anchored the drafting of such a law in its coalition agreement and the law should take effect at the beginning of 2017. Municipalities will, according to the new [Social Housing] Concept, have a legal obligation to meet the social housing needs of their citizens and to provide capacity. That is precisely what has been missing in the Czech Republic for the past 20 years. The state naturally must provide enough financing and methodological support to the municipalities."
The social housing system, according to the Concept, should aid everyone who finds themselves in need of housing or for whom housing is disproportionately costly. Jan Milota, a social worker with the IQ Roma servis organization in Brno, believes that "The Concept is finally focused on aid to those who genuinely need it. Senior citizens, mothers with children, people living with disabilities who need housing will receive effective, rapid aid precisely because they need housing."
Štěpán Ripka, chair of the Platform for Social Housing, assesses the progress made by the Concept over the past two years as follows: "In 2013 we were working with a proposal that claimed it would built up a safety net of residential hotels. Instead, however, what was being plotted was a spiderweb, and whoever fell into it would never escape. That's why it was necessary to reject the previous bill. The new Concept promises that the system will work like a trampoline. If you get into an adverse situation, the system will shoot you back into a normal life and support you on your way."
The Social Housing Concept is now in the inter-ministerial commenting process. The Government should discuss it again at the end of this month.
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