THE RIGHT TO HOUSING THROUGH PROVIDING ACCESS TO SOCIAL HOUSING

Between March and July 2015, the Local Action Group for Housing Inclusion (LAGHI, GALIL in Romanian)[1] has launched activities to support persons living in precarious and insecure conditions and/or in the city’s residentially segregated areas. Through an action of compiling and submitting dossiers for the allocation of a social house, 150 persons had signaled their housing needs towards the local administration. They were people previously unregistered because of the restrictive and discriminatory eligibility criteria of the local procedure to allot social housing.

The group had documented all the barriers encountered by the marginalized in accessing social housing, thus showing how consistent categories of the city’s inhabitants are systematically discouraged to apply for such accommodation in the city. At the end of the day, these people are denied their right to housing (read more about the results of this documentation work here: http://www.desire-ro.eu/wp-content/uploads/memoriu-col_cereri-loc-soc-_Cantonului_FINAL_6aug20152.pdf; http://www.desire-ro.eu/wp-content/uploads/Situatia_locativa_Stephenson15_aprilie20153.pdf; http://www.desire-ro.eu/?p=1458). Concurrently, GALIL sent a series of letters to the City Hall which indicated the discriminatory mechanisms pertaining to the local procedure of social housing allocation, procedure that excludes exactly those persons who would be in the direst need for such form of housing.

In November 2015, GALIL elaborated and registered to the attention of the Mixed Committee for the Allocation of State Housing Stock from the City Hall and the Local Council of the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca a series of proposals to modify the eligibility and selection criteria used in the process of social housing allocation. Read GALIL’s proposals here: <http://www.desire-ro.eu/wp-content/uploads/RECOMANDARI-LERI-pentru-schimbarea-HCL150-din-2013_tabel_FINAL.pdf>.

These are based on Romanian legislation, which stipulates the following:

  • “Free and unhindered access to housing is a right of every citizen” (Law of Housing 114/1996, introduction);
  • “In order to prevent and combat poverty and risk of social exclusion, through the initiated public policy, the state ensures the access of vulnerable persons to some fundamental rights, such as: the right to housing…” (Law of Social Assistance 292/2011 – Art. 53, alin. 2);
  • Local Councils have the obligation to ensure the access of marginalized persons and families (those who have a marginal social position “manifested in the absence of a minimum of social conditions of livelihood”) to housing and to public services of strict necessity (Law regarding the prevention and fight against social marginalization 116/2002 modified – Art. 3, Art. 25).

 On the 24th of November 2015, GALIL addressed the letter from below to the City Hall of Cluj-Napoca, the Direction of Patrimony and Property Records, and The Mixed Committee for the Allocation of State Owned Housing Stock, given the ongoing public consultation launched by the local administration to modify the existing procedure of allocate social housing.

access to social housing_statement Cluj-Romania_final


[1] GALIL was formed in the frame of LERI (Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion), a project of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, developed in Cluj-Napoca, alongside with other 21 cities from 11 European countries. Between September 2015 and January 2016, Foundation Desire (www.desire-ro.eu) contributes to the management of the local activities defined in the Local Action Plans elaborated in the LERI program for the cities of Cluj-Napoca and Aiud, and it particularly supports the implementation of these plans in organizational, administrative and consultative capacity. GALIL is formed out of persons directly affected by inadequate housing conditions, as well as of persons previously involved in housing problems in Cluj-Napoca, with the aim to contribute to the improvement of housing conditions and security for disadvantaged persons from Cluj-Napoca.