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Czech town to discuss controversial proposal tomorrow to declare its entire territory "socially undesirable"

6.12.2017 13:34
Kladno, Czech Republic (PHOTO: Edisteewr, Wikimedia Commons)
Kladno, Czech Republic (PHOTO: Edisteewr, Wikimedia Commons)

As of this year, municipalities in the Czech Republic are able to declare so-called "areas with increased incidence of socially undesirable phenomena" on their territories and to ban housing benefits from being disbursed to persons residing in those locations. At its August session, the Kladno City Council unanimously approved declaring almost all of its territory as such an area.

The town's intentions will be discussed at a public meeting there tomorrow, Thursday 7 December. Such an approach, according to local councilors, will allegedly prevent landlords from trafficking in the housing benefits used for tenants of residential hotels and other properties, but the controversial plan has met a wave of criticism.

According to Roman Matoušek of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion, this move is not about addressing the causes of negative phenomena and will negatively impact the victims of such phenomena. Local residents are criticizing the council's steps.

The criticism locally is based in the fear that it will not be possible for benefits to be paid to those who actually need them or that property values in the town will decline. The public discussion on the subject of the local leadership's decision and other solutions for combating poverty and the situations in the residential hotels that might be more effective will be held at the Dělnický Dům on náměstí Svobody beginning at 17:00.

Matoušek emphasizes that a more effective route than the one proposed by the Kladno leadership would be that of targeted interventions, including field work focused on many different areas such as crime prevention, education and social services directly in specific localities. The number of households drawing the housing benefit has long been declining overall, news server quoted him as saying.

The debate will be attended by Czech Senator Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) of Kladno, Czech MP Kateřina Valachová (ČSSD) and Kladno local assembly member Vojtěch Volf (ČSSD) along with Matoušek vládní. A Facebook invitation to the event is here.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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