Czech city chooses streets where housing benefits are now banned for new tenants
According to an amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress, municipalities are now able to define zones where housing benefits should not be awarded to residents. One of the many towns anticipating that it can use this option to halt an influx of impoverished families is Ústí nad Labem.
At the beginning of this week the city hall there published its proposed list of addresses where new renters should not be able to apply for housing benefits. Officials reported they have receved a total of four requests for the issuing of "measures of a general nature" to this effect, one from the town of Trmice and one each from the municipal departments of Ústí nad Labem – město, Ústí nad Labem – Neštěmice and Ústí nad Labem – Střekov.
Some buildings and localities have since been removed from the proposed list. After receiving the requests, city hall asked for assessments of the proposed areas from the child welfare protection authorities and local and state police, which provided statistics on misdemeanors and felonies committed in those places.
Once the measures are announced, the Labor Office will no longer disburse housing benefits to persons who are newly renting in the chosen localities. "By announcing these measures of a general nature, the City of Ústí nad Labem is sending the clear signal that it does not want to continue to become a destination for social tourists seeking aid to those in material distress and housing benefits. The irresponsible owners of derelict real estate who are running this trafficking in poverty will have more restricted access to financing from the state through socially vulnerable people," reads city hall's website.
For the time being the list is just a proposal - property owners and local municipal departments have until 27 December to submit objections to it. The exact list of buildings and streets affected, including the justifications for their categorization, is 12 pages long and is posted here (Czech only).
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