Roma inclusion: Building houses does not solve the housing issue

Aug 21, 2013

Jaroslav Kling, Human Development and Roma Inclusion Policy Analyst from Bratislava Regional Centre provides his reflections on the latest Roma Survey on the “Housing Situation of the Roma Communities” in Central and South Eastern Europe

When we talk about Roma housing, many of us might imagine substandard shacks in a segregated and poor part of a village.

The survey data show that this image is a reality for many Roma across Central and Southeastern Europe. Leaking roofs, no access to utilities mainly due to inability to pay bills, and the threat of eviction. Overall poor housing conditions is the everyday reality for a large number of marginalized Roma.

But do Roma really have to live in such conditions? Is it primarily their responsibility? Should society leave marginalized people on their own?

One of the conclusions of the report, authored by Tatjana Peric, is that a comprehensive approach is crucial for resolving complex housing issues faced by many Roma communities.

Attempts to address housing issues separately from education, employment and health issues and without direct and active involvement of Roma people have not yielded positive results.

Contracting a construction company in an open and transparent tender to build x number of housing units for y number of Roma families might be economically effective and efficient.

But from the point of view of social inclusion and social capital it would be more effective to have the future tenants working on their future houses under professional supervision, gaining skills they can use in the labour market and having a “relationship” with their new home.

This post was originally published on Voices of Eurasia.


Related studies and papers

The housing situation of Roma communities

Policy brief – Roma housing

Policy brief - Roma and the labour markets

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