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Czech Republic: Protest tomorrow about social housing law

4.1.2017 8:24
A 2013 demonstration by the Platform for Social Housing in front of Prague's main train station. The sign reads
A 2013 demonstration by the Platform for Social Housing in front of Prague's main train station. The sign reads "Social Housing - Right to a Home". (PHOTO: Jan Čonka)

On Thursday, 5 January at 10 AM the "Have a Home" (Mít svůj domov) initiative will hold a "happening" and press conference in front of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic to officially launch their campaign for the adoption of a law on social housing. The initiative wants to remind the governing parties of the pledge they made in their program declaration to see through the adoption of such a law during their time in office.

"If ANO, the ČSSD and the KDU-ČSL do not adopt a bill on social housing at cabinet level by the end of January, the law will have no chance of making it through the legislative merry-go-round before the elections, and the traffickers in poverty will have reason to celebrate for another 10 years," campaign coordinator Jaromír Mára warned. Beginning at 10 AM, a "happening" will take place in front of the building of the Office of the Government, where roughly 10 actors dressed as traffickers in poverty will hold a party around a richly-laden table with musical accompaniment to "thank" the Government for not adopting a social housing law and ensuring them "another 10 years of opulence", Mára said.

The "Have a Home" petition

A law on social housing has been drafted by the Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry in a form that many expert organizations have been willing to support with reservations, including the Platform for Social Housing, to which more than 30 organizations throughout the Czech Republic belong. Despite this, it now seems that because of obstructionism inside the governing coalition and pressure from interest groups, the law will not be adopted in time.

In response to this fact, the Platform has decided to establish an initiative to push for the adoption of a good law on social housing as soon as possible. Those who want to remind the governing parties of their pledge can sign the petition on the website www.mitsvujdomov.cz.

The press conference will feature appearances by Štěpán Ripka, chair of the Platform for Social Housing, by campaign coordinator Jaromír Mára, by representatives of the organizations participating in the challenge, by representatives of various groups experiencing a housing shortage, and by other public figures. "As the traffickers in poverty celebrate the blossoming of their business in front of the Office of the Government, the representatives of the 'Have a Home' initiative will distance themselves and remind the governing parties of their program declaration and their pledge to systemically address the situation of the 200 000 people in need of housing in this country," Mára said.

"Have a Home" is a new initiative that is challenging the Government to adopt a social housing law while it is still in office. It brings together more than 70 experts, famous figures, institutions and nonprofit organizations who have supported the initiative by making statements on video, such as philosopher Jan Sokol, pop singer Janek Ledecký, actor Jiří Lábus, priest Ladislav Heryán, Slovak actress and diplomat Magda Vášáryová, physician Milena Černá, entrepreneur Michal Horáček, Czech-Japanese architect Osamu Okamura, politician Petr Pithart, etc.

The video messages will be publicized tomorrow after the "happening" at 11 AM on the website www.mitsvujdomov.cz. More than 1 000 people have already supported the initiative by signing the petition and joining the challenge to the Government.

Lenka Jandáková, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Housing, MPSV, Platforma pro sociální bydlení, Poverty



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