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Platform for Social Housing critiques Czech Govt plans to institutionalize residential hotels

Prague, 4.10.2013 0:10, (ROMEA)
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A "happening" convened in 2013 by the Platform for Social Housing, called "Slippers should be worn at home". (PHOTO: Platforma pro sociální bydlení)

The Platform for Social Housing has sent the Czech Regional Development Ministry (MMR) its comments and suggestions regarding the Government's draft Comprehensive Social Housing Policy (Komplexní řešení sociálního bydlení). According to the Government's Housing Concept 2020 (Koncepce bydlení do roku 2020), the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry and the MMR are supposed to produce a comprehensive policy on housing by the end of this year.

The policy is to include 44 components. The MMR, as part of its consultation procedure, will evaluate the comments and proposals submitted and will then hold a round table at which the material will be discussed.

In addition to the Platform, other interested stakeholders are participating in the consultation process, such as the Tenants' Association (Sdružení nájemníků), the Union of Bohemian and Moravian Apartment Cooperatives (Svaz českých a moravských bytových družstev), the Union of Towns and Villages (Svaz měst a obcí), the Sociological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Sociologický ústav AV ČR), the ombudsman (Veřejný ochránce práv), the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion (Agentura pro sociální začleňování), the Association of Building Entrepreneurs of the Czech Republic (Svaz podnikatelů ve stavebnictví) and the RPG Real Estate firm. The Platform's submission is available (in Czech only) at http://www.romea.cz/dokumenty/Podnety_PSB_ke_konzultaci_KRSB.pdf

The main input from the Platform is the following: 

  • The comprehensive policy should be based on a definition of housing shortage that establishes individuals' entitlement to assistance, but there is no such definition in the material. The Platform therefore proposes a definition of housing shortage for this purpose.
  • There is nothing targeting the drafting of a law on social housing. The need for such a law has been stressed by experts since the 1990s and by the ombudsman since at least 2003. The Topolánek cabinet included the adoption of such a law in its program in 2007, but one is still lacking.
  • The document lacks a vision of how to resource housing for people who are experiencing a housing shortage. The only proposal in addition to existing programs is for a new program to build residential hotels, which in this version of the material are called "buildings for social housing" or "co-housing". However, this kind of institution is not appropriate for people living independently and is not fit, either socially or technically, for long-term housing. 
  • The material contravenes the government's recently approved Concept for the Prevention and Resolution of the Problem of Homelessness by 2020 (Koncepce prevence a řešení problému bezdomovectví do roku 2020) and tries to avoid defining housing and homelessness as per  ETHOS, the European Typology on Homelessness and Housing Exclusion. According to that typology and to the government's concept on homelessness, which was approved this summer, it is only possible to consider residential units as housing, and that includes social housing. The current draft of the comprehensive policy is looking for ways to get around using this clear definition.
  • The material does not define who is responsible for backing, planning, and providing social housing. We cannot avoid the participation of municipalities in this respect, and they must be clearly, steadily supported by the state.
  • For people who, as a result of housing shortage, are forced to reside long-term in shelters and other kinds of social services, the material is proposing to restrict their oppportunities for taking advantage of such services without offering any other housing options to them. 

The Platform for Social Housing is a group of individuals and organizations who share the notion that people who lose their housing, are at risk of losing it, or use inadequate housing must be provided the requisite aid in such onerous situations. Currently the Platform has a total of 33 members, 14 of them organizations; for more information, see www.socialnibydleni.org.

Štěpán Ripka, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Housing, MMR, Platforma pro sociální bydlení, Ubytování, Vláda, zprávy, Aktivismus, azylový dům, Bezdomovci, lidská práva, MPSV, Občanská společnost, sociální bydlení, sociální politika vlády, sociální služby, ubytovny, Czech republic, news



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