Romani residents of Czech town, evicted during reconstruction, cannot find landlords to rent to them
By the end of March 2018 the town of Děčín will have evicted all of the tenants residing in a building that was once a primary school. Despite the fact that the condominium apartment units are municipally-owned, the tenants are being forced to leave without being offered any replacement accommodation.
The reason the contracts are being cut short is the extensive overall reconstruction of the building, financed by a subsidy for energy savings in apartment buildings. After the reconstruction is completed, the property is meant to continue to serve as an apartment building, but it is not clear whether the current tenants will be able to resume living there.
Originally the families were meant to be moved out by the beginning of December, but the town has extended the period until the end of March. "The statutory city of Děčín has no unoccupied apartments to offer these renters currently," said Martin Kříž of the Local Development Department at the town hall.
"The tenants were aware, when they signed each lease, that it was concluded for a fixed time, i.e., that it would end when the agreed time was over and might not be extended," he told news server Romea.cz. One of the many tenants who is now in a desperate life situation thanks to these developments is named Petr Kováč.
Kováč has resided in the building with his family for seven years. He was employed as a social worker and then as a local police officer for several years.
Kováč is now living on a disability pension, which restricts his options. It is quite probable that most of the tenants will end up in a socially excluded locality, because most of them are Romani people with almost zero chances of finding a landlord to rent them an apartment on the regular commercial market.
Another barrier may be the recent amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress which makes it possible for a local authority to issue an OOP ("Measure of a General Nature") restricting the disbursal of housing benefits to certain localities only. Despite the fact that the town has all of this information and is collaborating with the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion, it is only offering these particular people at risk of homelessness their regularly accessible social services.
The local consultant for Děčín and for long-distance support from the Agency, Daniel Vališ, claims local social workers are aiding people with finding new housing. "It is comprehensible that the current tenants are concerned. For impoverished Romani people, who comprise most of the people at that address, it will not be easy to find an apartment on the open market. City social workers are helping them look for replacement housing along with the child welfare authorities, in collaboration with the Labor Office of the Czech Republic and nonprofit organizations. The aid is coordinated as part of the community planning group," he told Romea.cz.
Kováč, however, alleges that nobody is assisting him with finding new housing. "I have worked this entire time, but they don't take that into consideration. I did quite a bit of work for this town. Now that I am ill, when I have two serious illnesses that are life-threatening, it's like the town doesn't know me at all, as if I were an immigrant, and they are not helping me," he told Romea.cz.
- Czech Constitutional Court rejects complaint from municipality defending its 2006 eviction of Romani residents
- Czech survey on migration in socially excluded localities finds people move too frequently, either to escape debt or because the mafia evicts them
- Czech Republic: Romani tenants at risk of eviction got their leases extended
- Czech Republic: Many Romani families being evicted by year-end
- Czech Republic: Demonstration supports 100+ families at risk of eviction in Brno
- Czech Republic: Protest march planned in Brno over eviction of 100+ mostly Romani families
- Czech town "celebrates" 10th anniversary of Romani evictions and creation of ghetto with fireworks
- Czech town of Kroměříž plans to demolish Romani-occupied buildings in approach reminiscent of previous evictions
- Romani evictees seek compensation from town, Czech Supreme Court to review case
- Czech President Havel protested against the wall separating non-Roma from Roma on Matiční Street 20 years ago
- Pavel Botoš: Who will stop the use of terms like "cigoši" in the Czech Republic?
- Iveta Bílková: Czech society should not tolerate words like "Cigán", "Cigoši", etc.
- Roma are most frequently targeted by hatred on the Czech Internet, experts say the law applies online too
- Czech Govt report on the state of the Romani minority estimates 830 ghettos with 127 000 inhabitants in the regions
- Slovakia: Café Európa discusses underrepresentation of Romani people in politics
- Czech city declares its entire territory a ghetto for harsh housing benefit restrictions - which don't deliver
- Czech city synonymous with ethnic segregation sets up "Committee to Map and Eliminate Negative Social Phenomena"
- Czech mayor heading new commission to design changes to housing benefits
- Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová has breakfast with Romani students
- Czech court annuls board of directors of Ústecký Region's biggest housing cooperative
- VIDEO: Ostentatious homes built by Roma community in Romania reflect their desire for prestige