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Nonprofits and unions call on Czech PM to put forward social housing law

2.11.2018 10:14
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (center) and other members of the acting Government visited the Ústecký Region on 14 May 2018 and toured buildings related to the disbursal of housing benefits and suspicion of trafficking in poverty located on Sklářská Street in the socially excluded locality of Předlice in Ústí nad Labem. (PHOTO:  ČTK)
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (center) and other members of the acting Government visited the Ústecký Region on 14 May 2018 and toured buildings related to the disbursal of housing benefits and suspicion of trafficking in poverty located on Sklářská Street in the socially excluded locality of Předlice in Ústí nad Labem. (PHOTO: ČTK)

Nonprofit organizations and unions have sent an open letter to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš calling on his Government to produce a law on social housing. The Government pledged to do so in its program declaration.

Last month the Czech PM and Czech Regional Development Minister Klára Dostálová announced no such legislation would be submitted. Among those issuing the call to the PM were Caritas, the Czech and Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions, Naděje (Hope), the Network of Stakeholders for Homes (S.A.D., an association of homeless shelters), the Platform for Social Housing and the Salvation Army.

Despite the Government's pledge, Babiš and Dostálová, who was tasked with delivering social housing legislation, have now said the Government will most probably not design such a law for adoption - speaking on 11 October, Dostálová said the Government intends to remove the social housing law from its planned legislative work. The declaration they decided not to fulfill reads: "The Government will design a law on social housing to address the needs of citizens experiencing housing shortage and those on the outskirts of society."

Currently, according to the Regional Development Minister, the Government is planning to replace legislation for those purposes with an investment program. According to the organizations authoring the open letter, that will not be enough:  "The proposed CZK 2 billion [EUR 77 million] annually in the program of 'Construction' should, according to the estimates of the Ministry for Regional Development, be enough to build 1 400 apartment units per year, which would not even cover the annual growth in the target group, which the Government's own material estimates at approximately 3 000 households per year."

Director of the Platform for Social Housing Vít Lesák says that "In recent years, housing costs have risen to record levels, and the number of citizens endangered by housing loss continues to rise as well. From a MEDIAN company survey last year we know that a law on social housing would be approved by 71 % of the public."

"Given the market situation, we see that adoption of social housing legislation cannot be circumvented, so the Government should continue to develop it without delay," he said. A law on social housing is being sought by the following signatories to the letter: Štěpán Ripka (chair, Platform for Social Housing), Josef Středula (chair, Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions), Martin Šimáček (director, Institute for Social Inclusion), Jiří Vaněček (director, Hope/Naděje), Jan František Krupa (director of social services, Salvation Army in the Czech Republic), Lukáš Curylo (director of Caritas Czech Republic), Petra Kačírková (director, Lumos Czech Republic) and Dana Nedělníková (director, Network of Stakeholders for homes/ Sítě aktérů pro domov).

th, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Andrej Babiš, Neziskový sektor, Zákon o sociálním bydlení, Government of the Czech Republic



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