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Because of rural exodus as a result of the Second World War, many proprietors found it very difficult to live in good lodgings. Exodus being very much as compared to the number of lodgement available, some of the population were contented in in living in already damaged houses. Their proprietors find it very difficult renovating the already damaged houses due to their limited resources. “it’s all about new proprietors who think of daily prejudices caused by lodging degradation, which in 2 to 3 years will be conducive to live in, in a nearby future so as to say, inhabitants will be entitled to foot the bills of renovation which they could not pay.”
“After the Second World War, Romania the witnessed the consequences of forced industrialization which has displaced millions of inhabitants from villages to towns.” There were 9 to 10 million of people who lived this rural exodus. Some 3 million State owned apartments were rented for lower rents by those recognised by the communist authority, irrespectful of the neighborhood or building etc… After the December 1989 revolution, the new regime in place decided to do away with such lodgings that were not taken care off. These lodgings that are in a state of ruin, have been rapidly sold to tenants under threats of drastically increasing their rents. Presently, more than 95% of tenants have become owners of apartments which they have been occupying since 1990.”
Financial means can help the population in renovating their lodging if measures are taken by the state. Unfortunately, no measures are taken towards that light. This phenomenon is not essentially caused by the end of the war, but equally by the end of communism, which also sparked off disorder, notably in the sense of organization. “The fall of communism deeply favored disorder in the domain of lodging:”
- “The privatization of apartments constructed by the state” ;
- “The passive nature of the state, central and local, as to what concerns the construction of social lodgings ” ;
- “An increase in the construction of buildings for foreign companies, Banks, etc. . .”
- “The growth of contract bodies without a clearly defined domain of expertise, is causing problems” ;
- “A total lack of interest on the part of officials and banks to finance renovation (…)”;
- “Promises of financial assistance by the delegation of the European Commission in Bucarest” ;
The inhabitants who do not have the means to renovate lodgings are forced to leave because of sanitary problems, thus the number of homeless persons may increase in the years to come.
The population of Romania has difficulties in defending themselves against this ill. They don’t actually notice the disorder that the Romanian society is actually witnessing. “As to the participation of the habitants as to method of renovation and urban planning, it is agreed that it is inexistent.”
The majority of the population live in very small lodgings, in buildings controlled and jointly owned. The lodging park that is mainly constituted apartments of low quality buildings. (Source: Habitat for Humanity) (2)
Neighborhood Story Video presents in video form the situation of lodging and citizen participation faced with urban renovation in the Romanian towns. This video principally highlights three things:
- Today there exists great urban changes with enormous urban renovation projects, due to the difficulty to combine urban renovation and old motherland.
- The previous communists of the country seem to have left the inhabitants of the country in a no confidence state in politics, nor want to negotiate anything with It., nor positively organizing to collectively revandicate.
- Thus there exists structures that teach the inhabitants as to organize their town, take consciousness of their rights as well as possibilities as to become a proposing force to the government. (Citizen Empowerment). Example : CERE, CEntre de REssources pour la participation publique.(RESOURCE CENTRE FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION)
The question of urban renovation came in context with public and private powers, be it national or international investors. The case of Timisoara is a clear example with multiple actors. : « Economic dynamics and urban renovation in Romania: example of a town in Timisoara » (3)
More than half of the rural community don’t have access to running water. (Source: Habitat for Humanity) (2)
HABITAT: LEGAL ASPECTS
Right to Lodging
The right to lodging is not precisely written down in the National Constitution. Nevertheless, many lodging related aspects are regulated by the general law on lodging which is the law on lodging. In Romania, the law on lodging, law 114/1996 and its subsequent amendments. This law on lodging is the main law that is applicable to stock of private lodgings not owned by their proprietors who were direct beneficiaries of post-communist privatization. (Proprietors inherited the previous inhabitants who received occupation rights). The law on lodging is completed by l’Ordonnance d’urgence 40/1999, which concerns the protection of tenants. All the laws concerning ownership and renting in Romania is the State Law. There exists no legislation in the local level.
In accordance to the law 114/1996 on lodging, the attribution of social lodgings and aid to lodging, the local authorities is called on to give priority to specific groups: young married couples, (each having less than 35 years), the youths (more than 18 years old) just from health units,; first or second degree, handicapped persons or others in handicapped situation, retired, retired military men and widows of war (ERS). Meanwhile the general priority is actually given to persons who lost their houses through the restitution process. Unless a homeless person is classified under the priority group, he or she has no rights to social lodging or a lodging allocation.
Romania ratified the revised European Social Chatter on the 07/05/1999 and accepted the 65 out of the 98 paragraphs of the revised chatter, article 31 on the rights to lodging not inclusive. Romania did not ratify the additional protocol authorizing collective complaints.
Source : FEANTSA, 2012
The government emergency ordinance 57/2008 that modified the law on lodging 114/1996,and the complete and modified government ordinance 74/2007 on the creation of an insurance fund for the tenants of social lodgings who are on the point of eviction or haven been evicted from their homes because they returned to their forma lodgings as proprietors. . The emergency ordinance was approved by law 84 /2008, this concerning access to social lodgings as well as the means to resolve lodging related issues of the social class represented by individuals and families who were evicted or sent away from lodgings, given back to the former proprietors during the transition of communism, in the hope of putting in place a rapid government emergency ordinance 74/2007.
Source : FEANTSA, 2012
- Housing and Land Rights Violation Database in each country (Housing and Land Network): http://hlrn.org/welcome_violation.php#.VD-IVCi7_vQ
- Zero Evictions Campaign (International Alliance of Inhabitants): http://www.habitants.org/zero_evictions_campaign
- Data sets on agricultural land grabbing in the world (GRAIN): https://www.grain.org/bulletin_board/entries/4429-new-data-sets-on-land-grabbing
- The Online Public Database on Land Deals – Global Observatory (Land Matrix): http://landmatrix.org/en/
THE SITUATION OF ROMAS
Romas make up 10% of the total population. 75% of them live in a state of poverty (as against 24%of the total population in Romania). A recent report of Amnesty International showed that the population of Roma living Romania don’t have access to lodging as other citizens from Romania. According to the report, the fundamental right to lodging is not protected nor known as it should by the Legislation of Romania, and this has consequences to the already fragile population such as the Romas. As such, when the authorities evict the population of Roma against their own will, without consultation, no pre warning of eviction and no solutions to lodging, she bridges international threat treaties ratified by the authorities of Romania.
The Romas are rarely land or property owners in Romania. They usually live in permanent structure which they occupy on legal basis. Meanwhile in most cases, lodgings that are occupied for long are considered informal and illegal by the authorities. They are evicted since they don’t have no paper that proofs existence of any legal occupation contract. When a carried forward is done, it is done in inhuman conditions.
Certain countries such as France are more and more refusing the Romas in their territories and expulse them towards Romania. That adding to over population, as they are evicted without their belongings. (Only the people are evicted and their belongings rarely follow them).
The example of Baia Mare is clear. 2000 Romas underwent expulsion. Among them 70 families who accepted to be lodge in the old industrial building, something that considerably changed the way of life of the Romas who had the attitude of travelling throughout the territory. For the other Romas who refused this proposition, life was less rosy. “About 300 Roma families risk losing their homes ever since the local authorities of Baia Mare dished out eviction notices and the demolition of camps of Craica, Garii and Pirita.” The Roma were obliged to forget their liberty of moving into a lodgings if not they will be found on the streets…
Romania legal system condemning roma poor housing Rapport Amnesty International juin 2011
Amnesty International – ROUMANIE. HALTE AUX EXPULSIONS FORCÉES DE ROMS À BAIA MARE.
- Participation of habitants: An association, CERE, in Bucarest, proposes to make citizens participate in projects of urban renovation, in collaboration with experts, in order to influence the political decision. Video CERE (video directed by Pour La Solidarité).
HABITAT : SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS
Status to occupy a lodging: 97% of the current parks in Romania are privately owned (Source: Amnesty International)
Quality of Lodging
According To national statistics, 35% of lodging parks in Romania need urgent renovation. . The evolution of countries towards a market economy was slow and painful. Salaries were cut down by 40%. Poverty touched the unemployed, the farmer and the housewife.
Informal Habitat / Slums / Homelessness
Impact of climatic change: since 2005, Romania witnessed a terrible flood, leaving people in temporal homes (Source: Habitat for Humanity Romania) (2)
HABITAT: ROLE OF THE STATES
Definition and situation in 2012
In Romania the term Social lodging (or social habitations ’) officially defines ‘public lodgings whose prices have been subventioned, attributed to single persons or families whose financial situation does not permit them to have social lodgings that are put in the market. There also exist other lodging programs aimed at satisfying specific social needs (lodgings for youth and youth specialists, lodgings of necessity for persons evicted from their homes as a result of a natural disaster amongst others) but which are not considered as social lodgings as defined by the law. The social lodging is entirely owned by the local authorities and represents 2.3% of the national park.
- How does it function?
The public local administration authorities and the public central administration share the responsibility of constructing Social lodging. The demand for lodgings are made to the public local administration authorities. Periodically, these information are centralized and sent to the Ministry of Regional Development and of Tourism in order to jointly define the needs and organize investments in the construction of social lodgings as to the approved budget, The public park is very weak as the consequences of privatization has increased lodgings in the private sector which has exceeded 67.3% in 1993, to attain 90%.
According to the Law on lodging, families or persons with net monthly average incomes inferior to the net average monthly global income on the total economy are eligible to social lodgings. The public local administration authorities attributes these lodgings according to their criteria, which are defined each year. The categories in accordance to the people who can benefit from social lodgings. Persons or families evicted or whose lodgings have been returned to their former proprietors, persons of less than 35 years, the youths just leaving the social correction centers, invalids and handicap persons, persons on retirement, veterans and widows of war. ; the beneficiaries have law 341/2004 on the recognition of heroes and martyrs and fighters who contributed to 1989 victory of the revolution of Romania in December, and the persons who died or suffered the Brasov November 1987 and lastly the beneficiaries of law no. 118/1990 on the rights of people persecuted by the dictator since the 6th of March 1945 or recognised foreigners in a country or prisoners.
Source : CECODHAS Report 2012
HABITAT: ECOLOGICAL ASPECTS
Bucarest, just like many towns in Romania saw communism. The industrial zones, exploited during this period were abandoned. The only functioning industries notably refineries are in infraction as concerns the standards of the European environment level (all of them did receive a derogation up till 2010).The atmosphere is not of good quality as can be noticed by Benoit Kubiak d’“Avenir climat” : “Résultat : un air irrespirable un jour sur deux lors de mon séjour. Une odeur de souffre et une poussière noire envahie la ville jusqu’à l’intérieur des appartements.”
Fuel do not only pollutes the air. It is also responsible for floor pollution of many towns in Romania. (Notably due to the bombing of refineries during the Second World War).
The passage of a communist regime to a capitalist life is no doubt without damages to urban ecology. Towns are more and more filled with vehicles. Old cars that have been replaced by big and pollutant ones. Fuel becomes a luxury because of the rise in buying price. ” (…) the minimum salary that stands at 150 Euros. Get rid of the dictatorship and collectivism, Romanians switched to individualism and in a few years the towns of Dacia received very large foreign cars in which families have been using for years now.”
These societies of fuel helped in promoting the net increase of waste. A foreign fuel society (France) was called to resolve this this increase. Despite all this, the problem of waste has not been resolved. “Initiatives done in in the case of indiscipline of inhabitants who do not hesitate to throw dirt wherever.”
Despite all these findings, some initiatives by some associations and others have come to ameliorate the urban environment: “tisanes came to do their traditional activity routine of collecting recycle objects (metal and bottles in PET), and also the food remains that could be used in feeding their pigs (…) The association ZAPODIA do help in developing the minds of the youths and the young on the need to preserve the surroundings..”
Unfortunately the psychological fingerprint left by the communist dictatorship also accounts for the vote of no confidence in sensitization campaigns. The confusion is usually between the economy of need and restriction. “Dictatorship reclaims a quota of glass and pepper to be brought be each inhabitant. . . (…) the population was rationed in food stuffs such as bread, sugar, oil, meat etc.… the government carried out campaigns aimed at inciting minds on the judicious use of water or gas, resources present only few hours a day. This not so past gone era left traces on the minds of the people of Romania. Present campaigns on environmental protection have a different objectives but the outcome is almost the same and it is difficult to get this understood…”
Bibliography & Sitography
Vincent Veschambre et Nicolae Popa, “Dynamiques économiques et renouvellement urbain en Roumanie : l’exemple de la ville de Timisoara”, Revue Géographique de l’Est, vol. 49/1, 2009.
According to l’UNAL :
- The government and municipalities don’t have money;
- Campaigns for construction do not engage themselves in renovation works not knowing that this activity can be beneficial to all;
- Transitional programs do not have any influence. 4 to 5 years ago the World Bank had promised a nonrefundable loan on condition of creating structures in charge of renovation. But l’UNAL could not create them;
- (…) The constitution of Romania do not recognize the law to lodging”
Source DPH : La situation des immeubles érigés par l’État dans les années 1950-1990 à Bucarest, RoumanieDuring the Tribunal citizen eviction in (GENIVA 2013):
- It is very controversial the law on the retrocession of lodgements (law N°10 of 2001) authorizing the former proprietors to regain their property that was taken by the Communist State in 1948. Only 1% of former proprietors didn’t benefit from this law. This law brings conflict amongst persons who could arrive with false certificates of property in order to evict the present inhabitants. The state is absolutely sidelined from these problems.
Reccomandations or Propositions
A non- exhaustive List of social mouvements
CERE = resource center for public participation is a foundation created from the civic program the National Democratic Institute in Romania. CeRe mission is to support NGOs and public institutions through the acquisition of principles and application of methods of public participation. From the point of view of CeRe, citizens and public institutions responsible for public participation and must use their rights associated with such participation. Website CERE – Contact
- FRONTUL COMUN PENTRU DREPTUL LA LOCUIRE = Common Front for the Right to Housing. Website : http://fcdl.ro/
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY ROMANIA = humanitarian non-profit association whose goal is to eradicate poverty in terms of habitat and homelessness. To do this, they build and renovate housing worldwide, offer packages of micro-credit and loans, help to clean up homes, advocate for affordable housing for all. Particularly in Romania, they work in the rehabilitation of poor quality housing, improving the energy efficiency of housing, making housing more affordable for vulnerable groups (Roma , mentally disabled, orphans) and when they occur climate disasters. Website – email .
THE CASA LOANA ASSOCIATION = nonprofit organization founded in 1995 that operates family shelters for the homeless in Bucharest. The aim is to enable people to develop their potential and live independently in the community. For this, the organization offers them a secure accommodation and psychosocial support. They want to address the causes and consequences of homelessness. Website – email.
UNAL : National Union of Associations of Owners of Romania. Their goals : to change the law on associations and tenants to empower them to act; fight tariffs for primary resources and so on. Website CITEGO
ZAPODIA : Association for Urban Ecology. Some actions of the association : awareness to preserve the living environment, clean the area around the county hospital for weeks actions are organized, messages urging them not to throw waste in nature are plastered along the tracks.