According to him, an even bigger problem is that the Czech Republic does not have a national system of social housing. “In the field of social housing, the work of the state is replaced in many ways by non-profit organizations and town halls. We cannot treat people who need social housing as if they do not exist,” Křeček told Novinkám. Experts warn that this is a ticking time bomb; 154,000 people in the Czech Republic face housing shortages and 1.6 million people are at risk of housing shortages. The financial scissors are opening, and achieving own housing will be an increasing problem for many.
There is a lack of social workers
Since the first one, which was Otakar Motejl, public defenders of rights have pointed out that the Czech Republic lacks a national system of social housing. Some town halls solve problems even without the state. Examples of this are Pilsen, Prague, Jihlava or Vír na Žďársk, where they have established social apartments.
We cannot treat people who need social housing as if they don’t exist.
Křeček appreciates non-profit organizations that replace the state and, after agreement with town halls or private apartment owners, find new housing for people in need. This group includes parents – single parents, socially disadvantaged, Roma, people with mental illness or refugees. Getting an apartment definitely does not end with them. They need help to keep their housing and not end up in asylum centers again. There is a lack of social workers for this area.
“They help the client to properly pay all expenses, to find a job, to draw benefits that many people don’t even know exist, simply to be able to stand on their own two feet and be independent. For some, one visit per month is enough, while others need more frequent help. And we forgot about the fight against the prejudices of others,” said Jana Mikulčická, who participated in research on housing provision for the Office of the Protector.
They say the new law will not be the solution
Non-profit organizations also manage to acquire rental apartments from private owners for clients. They are selective when looking for new tenants, fearing that they might destroy their housing, but it is precisely thanks to social workers that there are more people who rent apartments to people from excluded groups. Of course, this comes at the cost of the fact that the social worker continues to work with the client, leads him to the proper use of the apartment and, together with him, resolves disputes about washing curtains.
The defender explained that strengthening the number of social workers for this area is indeed necessary, but the solution lies in the introduction of a nationwide system of social housing. A partial solution could be the upcoming law on support in housing. But the hamster has reservations about him.
“When practice shows to what extent it will help people in need of housing. Unfortunately, the law does not oblige anyone to actually provide social housing. It expects only the voluntary involvement of municipalities and other apartment owners. The success of the system being prepared depends on the willingness of housing providers to offer apartments to this system,” the ombudsman added.
The situation was criticized by the Constitutional Court last April. “It is not possible to let a person live on the street, without shelter, or in daily uncertainty about a roof over his head, if it is not his free choice. The state’s obligation to provide housing for all those in need … is not directly enforceable,” the constitutional judges said. They pointed to an analysis comparing the Czech Republic in the area of social housing with France, Ireland, Germany, Spain and Slovakia. The Czech Republic fared the worst.