Czech village wants to stop housing benefits altogether, plans to buy up apartment buildings
The village of Trmice in the Ústecký Region of the Czech Republic is defending itself against a potential influx of impoverished, problematic residents. Its local council has requested an expansion to its "measures of a general nature", on the basis of which new arrivals to the village will not be awarded housing benefits anywhere on its territory.
The local council is also buying up apartment buildings from private owners so they will not fall into the hands of real estate speculators. Before this recent change the restrictions on housing benefits for new arrivals applied to just five locations in the village of 3 000.
The original request by the local council was for the restrictions to apply in 10 places. The Ústí nad Labem City Hall, which is considered the municipality with expanded scope covering the local authority in Trmice, found just half of the sites originally designated by the village met the criteria for restrictions.
Now the village wants to significantly harden those restrictions. "We perceive a danger of more problematic, socially vulnerable people moving to Trmice. For that reason, we have adopted this new resolution and delivered to City Hall a new request for measures of a general nature and for an expansion of the validity of our not disbursing housing benefits to new arrivals to the village to cover its entire cadastral area," Mayor Jana Oubrechtová said.
Defending against speculators
If the approval of the restrictions goes well, the measures could begin applying within four months. The local council, moreover, says it will do its best to buy up bigger apartment buildings that might get into the hands of speculators.
During the last two years the council has bought two pieces of real estate for CZK 5 million [EUR 195 000]. "We bought the properties exactly because we feared an influx of people, mainly from Slovakia. At the one building we are developing a project to reconstruct it and offer smaller apartment units. We intend to turn the other building into community housing for senior citizens. The project documentation is being developed for that also," the mayor said.
The local council wanted to buy another building located on a corner near Trmice's Václavské náměstí, which, according to the cadastral office, has 11 apartment units. However, the village has backed out of the purchase, the price for which was set at roughly CZK 1 500 000 [EUR 58 000].
Concerns over the arrival of people from the residential hotels
"Unfortunately, there were big complications with the former owner, who is under collections, and the purchase was not completed. Eventually, after reaching agreement between the real estate broker and our lawyer, it was recommended that we not buy that building," the mayor said of the corner property.
According to public records, that building already has a new owner, a man whose permanent residency is in Košice, Slovakia, but according to three laborers who have been working on the building, the owner has not yet come there and they do not have his contact information. Construction materials have been brought to the building and the men there confirmed it is to be entirely reconstructed.
An anonymous posting to online social networks alleges that people about to be evicted from the two residential hotels in Ústí nad Labem that are ceasing operations at the end of this month will be heading to the Trmice building. "That information reached me also," the mayor said.
"Probably we will discuss this on 18 June at the local assembly meeting - we assume people will come to that meeting," the mayor said. Ústí nad Labem itself, which is adjacent to Trmice, also wants to expand its measures of a general nature to cover the entire city and make it impossible for new arrivals to qualify for housing benefits.
- Czech Labor Minister says lower housing benefits will drive down rents, experts say it will destroy social housing policy
- 71 Czech towns plan to ban housing benefits and make life harder for the poorest of the poor
- Analysis: Czech housing benefits keep people's heads above water
- Czech city chooses streets where housing benefits are now banned for new tenants
- Slovak project where Roma build their own homes seems more feasible in village setting, for now
- Commentary: Czech philosopher Daniel Kroupa has crossed the line, or: What is racism?
- Czech local zones to cancel housing benefits create more poverty, the biggest one is Ústí nad Labem
- Czech housing benefit rules become more strict as of 1 July
- Commentary: CNN Prima begins its Czech-language broadcasting with stereotypes about Romani people
- Emil Voráč: Czech Govt COVID-19 measures have not stopped our work, but the poorest are being forgotten
- Amnesty International criticizes Czech discrimination of Roma, Public Defender of Rights says AI is "biased"
- Slovakia will test Romani settlement residents for COVID-19 and isolate infected people in state-run facilities
- Nikola Taragoš on NGO response to COVID-19 in the Czech Republic: We're trying to prevent things from getting worse
- Slovak Govt Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities tells PM to either fire him or let him do his job
- MEP Peter Pollák joins Slovak Permanent Crisis Team to address COVID-19 in Romani localities
- Slovak NGOs demand crisis plan from Govt to prevent COVID-19 pandemic in Romani communities, ombudswoman supports them