Call for action against evictions in Alexandria city

To the Embassy of the United States
Embassy of Sweden
Embassy of Norway
Embassy of Switzerland
Embassy of Iceland
Embassy of Germany
To the Romanian Government
To the Prefect of Teleorman County
To the Romanian Ombudsman

THE CITY HALL OF ALEXANDRIA LEAVES 4 FAMILIES HOMELESS, AFTER EVICTING TENS OF OTHERS AND SEGREGATING THEM OUTSIDE THE CITY 

CALL FOR ACTION

The Block for Housing – a national federation of housing rights activist groups based in Bucharest, Timisoara and Cluj – is initiating the present call for action to intervene urgently against the serious violation of the right to housing by the City Hall of Alexandria.

The City Hall of Alexandria (Teleorman County, Romania) is currently pressuring four families, i.e. 11 persons, to leave the social building it has already evicted at the end of 2019, without providing any relocation options for them.

In the summer of 2019, the City Hall prepared the relocation of about 130 people out of two buildings of social apartments, called B10 and B11, situated on 1 Mai Street, close to the city centre. 

The City Hall launched this process in 2017, when it contracted a structural assessment that deemed the buildings unsafe to inhabit. Subsequently, the City Hall managed to secure approximately 1 million Euro from the Government in order to ”Set up temporary special spaces for emergency situations (containers)” on the outskirts of the city, for the relocation of the families and persons living in social housing.

65 containers (with one or two rooms) were installed at the periphery of Alexandria for the people whom the municipality intended to evict ”for their own good” – as it was often publicly declared, despite the people’s opposition. The containers are small and have insufficient space compared to the legal and de facto space necessities of the families, and are individually surrounded by tall metal fences.

In support of the observations of the Roma rights civic platform #Aresel!, we consider this to be a case of ethnic segregation! Given that a majority of the community is Roma, this situation is aligned with other similar forced evictions and subsequent segregations that have occurred in Romania in the past 20 years – such as the cases in Cluj Napoca, Baia Mare or Eforie. 

To the pressure made by activists, the City Hall repeatedly responded that this was a temporary ‘solution’, until they would manage to develop proper social housing. However, there is no concrete action, no local council decision, and no planning whatsoever for the construction of social housing to replace the two buildings set for demolition.

Based on the experience of the organizations of the Block for Housing in other cases, we fear that an adequate solution most likely will never appear and the segregated housing will become a permanent situation.

We urge all concerned actors to take action in pressuring the local authorities to provide adequate housing for the families moved in containers!

Secondly and moreover, some families living in the B10 and B11 social buildings soon realised they were being left out of even this unjust relocation option. These families, at risk of remaining homeless in mid winter, are asking for support!

In November 2019, the local authorities started the relocation of people in containers. On the 5th of November, at the request of two of the families, members of the Block for Housing went to Alexandria to accompany them at the City Hall. The Housing Department representatives assured us that no person will be left behind and they will find a solution for everybody. However, in early December, the families still living in the derelict social buildings were officially informed by the City Hall that the only “legal solution” for them is to go to the temporary night shelter, the Emergency Residential Centre of Alexandria.

In January 2020, the City Hall officially informed the Block for Housing there are four containers left unoccupied and four families left out. The authorities argued that these families were not contractual tenants in the social buildings and they were living there undocumented, thus they cannot legally move in containers as the rest of their former neighbours.

Through this response, the institutional message is that the local authorities do not care about the future of the people left behind!

The Block for Housing is in contact with two of these families. One is formed of two adults and a two-year-old baby; the other is a single woman. Both have applied for social housing years ago. They both live in one of the former social buildings without access to water supply – cut on the 19th of December 2019 by the local authorities, in an attempt to push them out. This actually amounts to a forced eviction and a severe violation of fundamental rights to housing and access to water.

The situation of one of the remaining tenants, Ms’ Dorina Strimbu, is particularly dire. She cannot even access the services of the emergency shelter due to her medical condition. Still, the City Hall representatives keep sending her the same standard reply: “Go to the shelter”. Her medical condition impaired her work capacity and she has no possibility to provide for herself. Moreover, she is on probation, being recently released from prison, which makes her, by the Romanian law, a marginalized person towards which the authorities have an obligation to provide basic services, including housing – according to the Law for the prevention of social marginalization.

To all those concerned about the violation of human rights by state authorities:

We urge for action and intervention, for the City Hall of Alexandria to respect the fundamental human rights of its citizens, namely:

– To respect the right to health, life and housing according to the Romanian Constitution and laws and according to the Human Rights Treaties endorsed by the Romanian Government!

– To immediately stop the harassment and intimidation of the families still living in the former social buildings on 1 Mai Street. They continue to stay there because they have no other place to go!

– To provide swift, adequate and individualized relocation solutions for the remaining families! The emergency shelter does not represent adequate housing!

– To urgently fund and build proper social housing, according to the local needs, which takes into account the risk of spatial segregation and prevents it! Segregated and undersized containers do not represent adequate housing!

Signed by:

The Block for Housing

The Common Front for the Right to Housing – Bucharest

Social Housing Now – Cluj

Right to the City – Timisoara

E-Romnja – the Association for promoting Roma women’s rights

RomaJust – Roma Lawyers Association

#Aresel! – Roma Rights Civic Platform

European Roma Rights Centre

MozaiQ LGBT

The European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City

Solidarity Action – Neukölln

Irish Housing Network

Right to the City Zagreb

Ort till Ort – Sweden

Droit au Logement – Paris

Habitat – Bruxelles

Rezumat al cercetării despre muncă şi locuire

Cel mai recent proiect al nostru, intitulat „Blocul pentru Locuire – Acțiune împotriva exploatării muncii și deprivării locative”, s-a derulat în perioada februarie-noiembrie 2019, cu sprijinul Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

Citiţi aici prezentarea proiectului şi sumarul cercetării militante, implicate, pe care am derulat-o în cadrul proiectului.

Argumentul principal al cercetării noastre: este nevoie tot mai mult de o Alianţă pentru muncă şi locuire, pentru asigurarea drepturilor muncii şi dreptului la o locuinţă adecvată!

 

Action against Labour Exploitation and Housing Deprivation

Our most recent project, titled “The Block for Housing – Action against Labour Exploitation and Housing Deprivation” was carried out with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, between February and November 2019.
Read here the presentation of the project and the summary of the militant research we organized in its frame.

The main argument of the research: there is a growing need for an Alliance for labour and housing rights!

Continue reading Action against Labour Exploitation and Housing Deprivation

Financial actors taking our homes

In the frame of our alliance with the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City, we published this booklet about how different financial actors (banks, investment banks, hedge funds, credit institutions etc.) are profiting from evictions, from people losing their homes, from rising housing costs and from our basic need for a home. This process is called “financialization of housing” and our booklet aims to represent an introduction to it. It is based on the experience of the different activist groups and housing movements part of the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City, who oppose the financialization of housing in their cities.

Read here the booklet

Acțiune împotriva exploatării muncii și deprivării locative – flyer

Locuința adecvată – care nu îi împovărează și nu îi face pe lucrători dependenți de credite imobiliare și de locuri de muncă pe salarii mici și condiții inadecvate – nu este doar un scop al luptei sindicale. Ci este și condiție pentru dezvoltarea acesteia: pentru că dacă lucrătorii vor avea locuințe adecvate, vor deveni mai siguri pe sine și mai puțin vulnerabili în lupta lor pentru drepturile muncii.


Alianța pentru muncă și locuire – mesajul nostru

Materiale video despre nevoia unei Alianțe pentru muncă și locuire, care să revendice atât salarii decente pentru muncitoare şi muncitori, respectarea drepturilor muncii, cât şi acces la locuinţe adecvate pentru toţi, costuri ale locuirii (incluzând costul utilităţilor, al transportului la locul de muncă, al dotărilor pentru un trai minim decent) care să nu consume mai mult de 20% din salariu.

Recomandări pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate

În urma întâlnirilor cu Grupul de lucru inter-ministerial asupra evacuărilor din locuințe, inițiat de Agenția Națională pentru Romi, publicăm o serie de recomandări cu privire la elaborarea de politici publice pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate. Recomandările se adresează membrilor Parlamentului, autorităților publice centrale și locale, precum și altor grupuri de advocacy pentru dreptul la locuire.

Citiți aici documentul integral: Recomandări cu privire la elaborarea unor politici publice pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate

Cuprins:

I. Problema care necesită o politică publică: evacuările forțate
II. Statistici ce susțin gravitatea riscului de evacuări forțate în România
III. Cauzele evacuărilor forțate
IV. Efectele evacuărilor forțate în termenii violării drepturilor omului
V. Discrepanțe legislative ce trebuie soluționate prin politici publice pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate
VI. Principiile necesare în definirea politicilor publice pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate
VII. Recomandări privind obiectivele generale ale unei politici publice pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate
VIII. Recomandări privind obiectivele specifice ale unei politici publice pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate
IX. Recomandări privind obiectivele operaționale ale unei politici publice pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate
X. Documente de politici publice la nivel global, european și național relevante pentru prevenirea și interzicerea evacuărilor forțate

THE BRICK (CĂRĂMIDA). MAGAZINE FOR HOUSING JUSTICE 5-8.

Căși sociale ACUM/! Social housing NOW!
Fragments from issues # 5-8 (October 2018 – June 2019)

The Brick is the medium through which we contribute to increase the political movement for housing justice in the city of Cluj, and beyond. Brick-by-brick, we build mutual knowledge; trust in our own forces and solidarity that strengthens us. Brick-by-brick, we are aware of the real causes of the housing crisis, the consequences of which are suffered by the workers, both the poor working class and the precarious middle class. Through The Brick, we can fight for a fair and anti-racist housing policy, as well as against the transformation of the city into a source of profit for developers and large real estate owners. Let’s build the movement together!

Contents of the whole issue:
We mobilize for public social housing
Red Vienna: municipal socialism
Social homes in France, a model under threat?
Let’s take back the social control on homes. Lessons from Germany
Outsourcing the projects for social housing: the case of Torino, Italy
The lack of social housing transforms Barcelona into a city marked bu housing crises
Are you in one of these situations? Then you must be interested in social housing
We mobilize for public social housing – action on the 26th of October 2018

THE BRICK (CĂRĂMIDA). MAGAZINE FOR HOUSING JUSTICE 1-4.

Căși sociale ACUM/! Social housing NOW!
Fragments from issues # 1-4 (October 2017 – May 2018)

The Brick is the medium through which we contribute to increase the political movement for housing justice in the city of Cluj, and beyond. Brick-by-brick, we build mutual knowledge; trust in our own forces and solidarity that strengthens us. Brick-by-brick, we are aware of the real causes of the housing crisis, the consequences of which are suffered by the workers, both the poor working class and the precarious middle class. Through The Brick, we can fight for a fair and anti-racist housing policy, as well as against the transformation of the city into a source of profit for developers and large real estate owners. Let’s build the movement together!

Contents of the whole issue:
Public housing: response to housing crisis
They should consider us humans too!
What is an activist architect?
December 17th – Day Against Eviction
“The Manifesto from Cluj against evictions everywhere”
Let’s evaporate!?
About rentiers and the need of tenants to organize
Visit to the Subjective Museum of Housing
How did housing become a commodity?
Racism at home
Inhabitants of Cluj living in informal housing: the walls of poverty on Mesterul Manole Street. Stop forced evictions
Fight against environmental racism – through legal action
Labor, capital and housing
A woman’s labor
A First Step towards Legality
Eviction is the foundation of urban regeneration – Abator Square, Cluj