The author, Enikő Vincze was invited to make a presentation with this title at the 7th Dialogue of the Council of Europe with Roma and Traveller Civil Society, “Protecting family life by securing housing and preventing evictions” Strasbourg, 11-12 April 2019 – Working group 2: Housing and Cities in a time of change: are we focusing on People? The overall objective of the working group is to explore and develop concepts for analysing institutional and organisational change and dynamics in affordable housing provision. Government policies, management reforms and rapidly changing social and economic contexts have placed new expectations on social and public landlords. In addition, policies encouraging partnering with the private sector and/or direct private market provision of social/public housing have blurred the lines between public and private housing activities
While discussing about the “Pata Cluj” project from Romania, as a contribution to the organizers’ aim “to explore concepts for analysing institutional and organisational change and dynamics in affordable housing provision” I am proposing to make use of two concepts:
(1) externalization of the accountability of public authorities in what regards housing provision for low income people;
(2) rescaling the solution of territorial desegregation from the level of the city to the level of metropolitan area.
But before discussing about how “Pata Cluj” project contributed to the trend of externalization and rescaling housing provisions, I would like to critically address two interrelated issues:
- On the one hand: the phenomena mentioned in the description of this working group, i.e. “government policies, management reforms and rapidly changing social and economic context” – I am going to talk briefly about them under the heading of changing housing politics under the conditions of post-socialist capitalism;
- On the other hand: the formation of the deprived housing area from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, called Pata Rât, as a local manifestation of the general phenomenon of housing crises, which is exactly the area on which the “Pata Cluj” project focused on between October 2014 and April 2017.
At the end of my presentation, I will read the “Statement on Pata Rât” of the movement Căși sociale ACUM!/ Social housing NOW! from Cluj-Napoca.
My presentation might bring three contributions/ recommendations to the discussions of this meeting of the CoE on housing, which are the following:
- A need for mainstreaming the “housing policies for Roma”, since the major manifestations of housing crises that affect impoverished ethnic Roma are part of a larger systemic problem that needs to be solved by the means of changing housing politics altogether.
- A need to address the responsibilities of the EU, and in particular of the EC on the domain of housing, and formulate demands in what regards the need to modify some major aspects of the compulsory economic policies (such as the competition rule, and the fiscal surveillance of the countries), so that member states could invest public money into public housing.
A need to address all the housing issues faced by impoverished ethnic
Roma people as a whole, i.e. when looking for measures to legally recognize
informal settlements, to provide measures for social protection, measures for
legally forbidding forced evictions and also compulsory measures for providing
public social housing as alternative housing solutions. The demand for security
of tenure should be applied in the case of several types of tenure.
 The references made
to the project are inspired by a study made by Foundation Desire as member of
the consortium of the RELOCAL research project with the financial support of
Horizon 2020: Bădiță C and Vincze E (2019) The
Pata Cluj Project. Residential Desegregation of the Landfill Area of
Cluj-Napoca, Romania. RELOCAL Case Study N° 25/33.
University of Eastern Finland.