Procedures for improving housing security of the socially marginalized

Between October 2015 and February 2016 – in its organizational, administrative and consultative capacity – Foundation Desire provided support for the implementation of the local action plans developed in Aiud and Cluj-Napoca in the framework of the Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion program (LERI). More information about this multiannual program of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights run in 11 countries from Europe are available here –

This moment was one among of the dozens of initiatives in which Desire Foundation was involved since 2010 in what regards actions for social justice and housing rights at local and national level.

The major actions through which the local action groups from Cluj-Napoca and Aiud formed under LERI documented – on the one hand – the needs of marginalized people produced by housing exclusion, and – on the other hand – the ways how local public administrations respond to these, included the following:

  • Supporting 135 people from disadvantaged urban areas of Cluj-Napoca to elaborate and submit their social housing request files, an action that facilitated the documentation of their housing histories and current situation, and as well as empowered people to make visible their housing needs and to claim their citizenship rights.
  • The elaboration of a set of proposals for the modification of the criteria used by the Cluj-Napoca City Hall in the process of allocating social housing from the public housing fund and participation on the public consultation made by the City Hall on this subject: PROPUNERI DE MODIFICARE A PROCEDURII ACTUALE DE ATRIBUIRE A LOCUINŢELOR SOCIALEFUNDAMENTELE LEGALE ALE PROPUNERILOR DE MODIFICĂRI ÎN HCL CLUJ-NAPOCA 150/2013 CU PRIVIRE LA ATRIBUIREA DE LOCUINȚE SOCIALEPUNCT DE VEDERE GALIL cu privire la proiectul de HCL privind modificarea si completarea HCL 150/2013 exprimat în contextul consultării publice inițiate de Primăria municipiului Cluj-Napoca.  The key message of this endeavour was that the criteria of the allocation of social housing from the public housing fund need to be changed in order to respond to the needs and rights of the most marginalized, rights which are assured by the current Romanian legislation (Romanian Constitution, Housing Law 114/1996, Law for preventing and combating social marginalization 116/2002, Law of social assistance 292/2011, anti-discrimination and equal opportunities legislation).
  • Supporting Roma families from an informal settlement and the Aiud City Hall in their effort to legalize informal housing on the base of the relevant legal provisions in Romania from the domain of urbanism, constructions and cadastre (Law 50/1991 with further completions).
  • Supporting Roma families (former renters of apartments from a centrally placed building retroceded to the Reformat Episcopate in the city of Aiud) in their effort to claim alternative and adequate housing according to the relevant Romanian legal provisions that protect people evicted from retroceded buildings from becoming homeless (according to the Governmental Emergency Ordinance 40/1999).
  • Capacity-building of the Group for Community Initiative from Aiud in order to identify the needs of districts inhabited by impoverished ethnic Roma in order to be used in the process of preparing future development projects under the auspices of the City Hall in cooperation with the Group and other local stakeholders.
  • Elaboration of four Area documents on some of the most disadvantaged housing areas from Cluj-Napoca (Cantonului street, Dallas colony, modular houses – from Pata Rat; and Stephenson street), which – on the base of a series of data collected by different initiatives since 2010 – offers a synthethic view on the historical formation of these territories as a result of administrative measures and/or lack of inclusive development policies, and as well as on the current housing condition of the tenants characterized by precariousness and insecurity; the documents also included recommendations regarding the focus of the needed local action measures to be tailored to these specific situations, which were presented by the Local Action Group for Housing Inclusion (Grupul Local de Acțiune pentru Incluziune Locativă, GALIL) to the relevant structures of the Cluj-Napoca City Hall and Cluj County Prefecture.
  • Elaboration of two Resource documents on: (1) legalization of informal housing; and (2) prevention of forced evictions. The documents present a series of provisions of national and international legislation related to these subject. They were submited by the GALIL group to the Cluj-Napoca City Hall, but they might be useful instruments for any public administration body that aims to implement measures for improving the housing security and condition of the most marginalized, including impoverished ethnic Roma, and – by this – to assure the right to adequate housing of citizens living in extreme poverty.