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Czech Republic: Platform for Social Housing says society needs homes

Ostrava, 21.5.2013 23:22, (ROMEA)
The properties on Přednádraží Street in Ostrava, May 2013. (PHOTO:  Patrik Banga)
The properties on Přednádraží Street in Ostrava, May 2013. (PHOTO: Patrik Banga)

The creation of a Platform for Social Housing was announced today on Přednádraží Street in Ostrava. The Platform brings together experts, nonprofit organizations and the public with the aim of defining social housing and introducing it in the Czech Republic. 

The Platform has now issued its founding declaration (available in Czech only at http://www.romea.cz/cz/zpravodajstvi/domaci/ustavujici-ustavujici-prohlaseni-platformy-pro-socialni-bydleniprohlaseni-platformy-pro-socialni-bydleni). Platform members want the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry and the Regional Development Ministry to invite them to their upcoming negotiations on state housing policies. They are also calling for the Anti-Discrimination Act to be reinforced.

First press release of the Platform for Social Housing

The Platform is advocating for social housing that is based on the needs and preferences of the future users of such housing. All of us, not just the public administration, decide who among us will have a home to live in today.

As the result of a long-term state policy, the inhabitants of Přednádraží street in Ostrava, the Předlice quarter in Ústí nad Labem, and other localities have lost their opportunity to live in homes. In the Czech Republic of 2013, more and more people are ending up homeless, living on the street, in overcrowded households, in derelict buildings, in residential hotels, in institutions, or in treatment facilities.

The situation is deteriorating daily. The certainty of housing for all is the basis of people being able to assert themselves in society.

The public administration has not been able during the last 20 years to ensure housing for homeless people and has presumed that the market will solve everything on its own. The Platform for Social Housing has now been created with the aim of correcting this state of affairs.

We are a group of experts, NNOs, and representatives of the public dedicated to the topic of human rights and social housing. We are responding to the long-term absence of a meaningful, systematic approach to this issue.

Our platform includes primarily organizations that have long been involved in direct work with people who have lost their accommodation, who are at risk of losing it, or who live in poor-quality housing. On the basis of this practical experience, we consider the existing institutional and legal framework for assisting people at risk of exclusion from housing or of homelessness to be insufficient.

We are convinced that dignified housing is a basic human right of every person which should not be denied or restricted for anyone under any circumstances. The guarantee of the right to dignified housing should be supported on the basis of individual needs through adequate, quality social services that assist with housing maintenance.

Discrimination on the apartment market causes the exclusion of a large number of Romani people and members of other groups, creating a housing shortage situation where they are concerned. Social housing must help all people who lack apartments, but in and of itself it will not resolve discrimination.

That is why it is necessary to simultaneously enhance anti-discrimination measures and to prohibit exclusion from the apartment market. We will represent the needs and preferences of homeless people waiting for social housing and those already using it.

We will also be the voice of those among the public who realize that everyone needs a home. We are determined to participate together with the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry and the Regional Development Ministry in the design of all social housing policies.

We call on these ministries to facilitate our access to all design work and meetings, and to give us the opportunity to create public policy with them through a dialogue of equals. The first negotiations of that policy are scheduled for 3 June, when the design of the draft comprehensive solution for social housing will begin. We hereby ask to be invited to that meeting and to all subsequent meetings.

Within the framework of our member organizations and through the individual members of the Platform, we will discuss the drafts and outputs from those meetings with the users of social housing. We also want to facilitate and provide technical assistance during the design of social housing policies, primarily during the design of the comprehensive solution to social housing, the law on social housing, the national subsidy programs, and the Integrated Regional Operational Program.

We expect the ministries will accept our offer and will take advantage of these opportunities for collaboration. We also call on other individuals and legal entities for whom this issue is a concern to join the Platform for Social Housing. Should you be interested in joining or should you have any further questions, please contact Jan Milota (jan.milota@iqrs.cz).

Jan Milota, spokesperson, Platform for Social Housing, Brno
Lucie Mastná, spokesperson, Platform for Social Housing, Ostrava
Štěpán Ripka, spokesperson, Platform for Social Housing, Prague

Founding members of the Platform for Social Housing:

IQ Roma servis o.s.
ROMEA o.s.
Czech Helsinki Committee (Český helsinský výbor)
Life Together (Vzájemné soužití, o.s.)
Centrom o.s.
Salvation Army (Armáda spásy)
Štěpán Ripka, researcher and sociologist who has long studied the apartment issues of communities and low-income households
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ostrava 

fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Housing, Platforma pro sociální bydlení, Romové, sociální bydlení, sociální služby, sociální vyloučení, ubytovny, Ústí nad Labem, Czech republic, EU, MPSV, news, Předlice, Roma



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