Families with children facing eviction sue Czech city for putting them at risk of homelessness
Tenants of residential hotels that are closing are in a situation of acute danger of homelessness and have filed suit against the City of Ústí nad Labem with the Regional Court. One part of their lawsuit is a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the application of the "measures of a general nature" which the city is using to limit where housing subsidies are disbursed on their territory, including in impoverished localities.
Legal representation to the evictees has been provided by the Forum for Human Rights with field support from the Konexe association. "Despite the fact that the city is doing its best to allege it has no liability with respect to arranging substitute housing for the evicted people, the opposite is true. Their obligation flows from Section 35 of the Municipalities Act and also from Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. If the city remains absolutely inactive, it will be committing an illegal intervention against the most vulnerable groups of inhabitants, including children. We believe the Regional Court will provide these families with adequate protection," lawyer Tereza Bártová described the legal opinion of the Forum for Human Rights.
"The legal aid and support provided to us by the Forum for Human Rights is immeasurably valuable for us in the current situation. We believe we will succeed through legal avenues to halt the validity of the so-called 'benefit-free zones' that the city has announced in its impoverished localities," commented Miroslav Brož of the Konexe association, which arranged contact with the evictees for the legal team of the Forum for Human Rights and provided them with the necessary support in the field.
"We are looking forward to the court, we have nothing to lose, we believe in justice. We thank the Forum for Human Rights and Konexe for the aid and support they are giving us. We will never forget it," said Josef D., an evictee from one of the residential hotels.
The lawsuit concerns the acute danger of homelessness posed to the plaintiffs, young families with five children, as well as to another approximately 230 people (of whom about 80 are children) living in the residential hotels at Klíšská 53 and Purkyňova 14 in Ústí nad Labem. Because the plaintiffs are at risk of being evicted by 30 June and the situation is very acute, they are also asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction as per Section 38 of the Code of Procedure.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to use this preliminary injunction to order the city to 1) halt the applicability of the above-mentioned "measures of a general measure" until such time as their possible abolition is decided and 2) to adopt immediate measures to arrange at least temporary housing for the plaintiffs. The two residential hotels will cease operations as of 30 June and their tenants, predominantly impoverished Romani people, face a situation in which they are in danger of losing their housing and becoming homeless.
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