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Czech PM Sobotka does not want more homelessness, demands law be changed

17.6.2015 0:03 "I am of the opinion that it is essential for the Labor Minister to respond by drafting another amendment to the law where we establish clear rules to prevent people from ending up on the street en masse who are not entitled to any state support," said Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka after yesterday's cabinet session. His remarks were made in response to the situation prompted by a recently-adopted amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress which means that as of May, applications for housing benefits filed by people living in residential hotels are approved by local authorities, not the state's Labor Offices.  full story

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Human rights activist: The Czech state is holding impoverished people hostage, the ombud will do what she can

15.6.2015 23:13 Local councils across the Czech Republic have begun taking advantage of an amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress that has shifted the power to decide on the awarding of housing benefits from local branches of the state's Labor Offices to municipalities. This is the result of declared efforts to combat residential hotels that are not up to code and the "traffickers in poverty" who run them, but in many towns this has instead become a fight against the impoverished people who are living in these facilities  full story

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Czech experts warn rising homelessness is underway

11.6.2015 20:01 It was supposed to be an important measure against "trafficking in poverty". Now it could lead to hundreds becoming homeless.  full story

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Commentary: Hypocrisy takes center stage in Czech housing policy across the spectrum

4.6.2015 19:20 Hundreds more people have become potentially homeless in the Czech Republic over the past few days. They are impoverished, and up until now they have been living in residential hotels.  full story

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Czech towns begin to "produce" hundreds of newly homeless people after law has potentially catastrophic effect

3.6.2015 21:13 Reality has turned out differently than Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová believed it might. "Most municipalities behave rationally, they know they cannot afford to create dozens or hundreds of homeless people," she said last week.  full story

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Czech town rejects residential hotel tenants' applications for housing benefits across the board

2.6.2015 14:41 Town councilors for the municipality of Bohumín have rejected all 124 applications for housing benefits submitted by individuals who are accommodated in residential hotels on their territory. Such rejections could impact as many as 210 such facilities throughout the country.  full story

One of the residential hotels in Ostrava on Cihelná street (2013). (Photo:  František Kostlán)

Czech Republic: Number of socially excluded localities has doubled since 2006 to 606

27.5.2015 13:42 The number of socially excluded localities has almost doubled in the Czech Republic since the first Analysis of Socially Excluded Romani Communities and Localities in the Czech Republic and the Absorption Capacity of Entities Working in this Area was presented on 6 September 2006. That year the number of impoverished apartment complexes, impoverished neighborhoods and whole streets was estimated at 300, while now it is estimated to number 606 such localities in 297 municipalities.  full story

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Czech town says it will block housing benefits for residential hotel dwellers

21.4.2015 23:39 The leadership of the Bohumín town council is threatening to block the housing benefits awarded to those living in residential hotels. As of May, applicants for this welfare benefit will need the consent of their local municipality to receive it.  full story

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Commentary: Can a "trafficker in poverty" improve the participation of impoverished Romani people?

15.4.2015 23:56 The creation of the Romani Council of Ostrava has raised big expectations that are shared not just by local and national politicians, but also by Romani activists and experts. No one seems bothered by the fact that the chair of the Romani Council and the organizer of the elections that chose its officers is Vladimír Leško - or at least, no one will publicly say so.  full story

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Czech Republic: Romani Council of Ostrava gets politicians' blessing

15.4.2015 22:34 Yesterday in Ostrava representatives of the local Romani Council and its team of Romani experts met with politicians. Members of the Romani Council as well as political representatives view the creation of the Council as a milestone in collaboration between the Romani community and the city when it comes to solving their common problems.  full story

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Czech Platform for Social Housing: Fire shows children must be rescued from living in residential hotels

8.4.2015 23:16 On the night of 6 April, six children who had been forced to live in a residential hotel in the town of Ostrov near Karlovy Vary almost burned to death. Tenants were standing with their children in the windows of the building planning to jump in order to escape the flames.  full story

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Czech Platform for Social Housing chair: Roma in residential hotels need a chance at a dignified life

8.4.2015 0:04 "If you get hit by a car, the emergency medical technicians don't ask you if you looked both ways before you crossed the street. Losing housing is a similar catastrophe. It is in everyone's interest for homelessness not to become an intractable fate, but the briefest possible episode in someone's life," says Štěpán Ripka, chair of the Platform for Social Housing in the Czech Republic; news server Romea.cz interviewed him about the progress on a social housing law.  full story

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Czech Republic: Were the Romani Council elections in Ostrava a farce, or a sign of hope?

28.2.2015 20:18, (ROMEA) According to various estimates, there are between 25 000 to 40 000 Romani people living in the city of Ostrava, of whom about 6 000 live in "excluded localities" or ghettos. Earlier this month, elections took place in Ostrava for a "Romani Council".  full story

One of the residential hotels in Ostrava on Cihelná street (2013). (Photo:  František Kostlán)

Czech Republic restricts payouts to traffickers in poverty running residential hotels

Prague, 29.12.2014 1:58, (ROMEA) The payment of housing supplements for accommodation in residential hotels will now be restricted by law. The supplements will be provided by the state to residential hotel operators based on the amount of space rented, not per the number of people living in a single unit.  full story

One of the residential hotels in Ostrava on Cihelná street (2013). (Photo:  František Kostlán)

Czech law tightens housing benefit terms for residential hotels

Prague, 8.11.2014 22:25, (ROMEA) The disbursal of housing benefits directly to the operators of residential hotels will be restricted by a new law. The state will calculate the benefits based on the amount of space leased, not per person.  full story

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Czech town tries to prevent giant residential hotel from developing

Přerov, 28.9.2014 20:00, (ROMEA) News server iDNES.cz reports that councilors in the Czech town of Přerov have said they would prefer to pay CZK 40 million for a building they don't need than see it turn into a giant residential hotel housing hundreds of socially vulnerable people. Local officials have approved a plan to purchase the local Hotel Strojař from the Czech Defense Ministry.  full story

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Problems of a Czech city: Aging populations, debt, depopulation, ghettos, not enough work, residential hotels

Ostrava, 28.9.2014 0:30, (ROMEA) The Czech city of Ostrava has several problems, which means deciding which are the most serious is not easy. Certainly problems with socially excluded localities and the rising number of residential hotels housing the most impoverished people are at the top of the list.  full story

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Czech legislation to curb housing benefit abuses by residential hotel landlords

Prague, 25.9.2014 17:56, (ROMEA) The disbursal of housing benefits to tenants of residential hotels is evidently about to be limited. According to an amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress drafted by the Government, the state would calculate such benefits provided directly to the operators of residential hotels based on the space being rented, not on the number of people living in a unit.  full story

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Czech town discusses "inadaptable" residents and planned repression

Jablonec nad Nisou, 16.9.2014 21:13, (ROMEA) "Public meeting with citizens about safety in the town, coexistence with inadaptables and welfare for housing" was the name of an event that took place on the evening of Tuesday, 2 September in the Grand Hall of Jablonec's Eurocenter, attended by roughly 300 people. Those invited included local residents, politicians, representatives of the municipal and state police, representatives of the Regional Hygiene Stations and the Building Works Authority.  full story

One of the residential hotels in Ostrava on Cihelná street (2013). (Photo:  František Kostlán)

Trafficking in poverty costing the Czech state a billion a month, speculators profiting

Prague, 25.8.2014 15:07, (ROMEA) The volume of state benefits paid out to subsidize housing for the impoverished in the Czech Republic grew during the past year by one-fourth, and the owners of residential hotels are profiting in particular. Local governments are reportedly doing their best to restrict this trafficking in poverty by buying out such facilities or by offering the recipients of housing benefits the opportunity to live in "training apartments".  full story

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