Czech town puts "container housing" for Romani-inhabited locality on hold, former ombudswoman recommended cancelling it altogether
News server iDNES.cz reports that the construction of modular housing units, so-called "container housing", for the inhabitants of the Chanov housing estate in the Czech city of Most is being postponed until next year at the earliest. During its preparations for installing the units, the city has ascertained that the power grid cannot be expanded in time to stick to the original plan.
The city has also decided to change the heating system originally planned for the units. The planned construction of the units had been criticized by the previous Public Defender of Rights, Anna Šabatová.
"The ČEZ company will not manage to expand the power grid to meet the city's needs this year. Another reason to postpone construction is to change the heating system in the units to deliver heat from a central source," said Mayor of Most Jan Paparega (ProMOST).
The city originally counted on tenants using space heaters, but decided against it because that heating method is costly. The CZK 20 million [EUR 727,275] that the city had approved and budgeted for the construction this year will now be used for different investments.
According to Adam Komenda (Pirates), a Most city assembly member, some inhabitants of Chanov put together a petition against building the units that was then signed by more than 100 people. The project documentation of the container housing was meant to be ready by the end of this month.
As soon as it will be possible and the extraordinary measures in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted, the city will organize a meeting with local inhabitants that should be attended by the new Public Defender of Rights, Stanislav Křeček. Before leaving office, his predecessor expressed her view of the construction of the container housing in a report that was almost 19 pages long.
"I have come to the conclusion that constructing modular housing at the Chanov housing estate will result in intensifying the segregation of the Romani residents there, and that it therefore represents discrimination in the area of housing on the basis of their ethnic origin," the report concludes. Šabatová recommended the city abandon the plan.
"In order to prevent the Statutory City of Most from confirming and deepening the segregation of the people of Chanov, and in order that the City not take actions that would feature indications of discrimination, which is prohibited, I recommend that the City abandon the intention to build modular housing," her report states. Echoing the Agency for Social Inclusion, the report additionally advises that "Instead of the planned construction of modular housing, therefore, I recommend creating a plan for the gradual attenuation of the number of people living at the Chanov housing estate with the aim of relocating its residents into standard apartment units that are not in segregated localities."
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