Tag Archives: Budapest

The City is for All: “We are not asking for free housing” (Budapest)

avarosmindenkie.blog.hu

On the 19 January 2013, homeless activists and their allies squatted an empty building in the seventh district of Budapest. The squatters demanded the institutionalization of a right to housing and an extensive system of social housing instead of punitive measures and overcrowded shelters. The activists were arrested and now face misdemeanor charges because of disobeying police instructions.

“We do not leave until the government and local authorities take seriously mass homelessness and housing poverty,” said Jenő Keresztes, one of the homeless squatters. “We are here to raise awareness about the tens of thousands of empty buildings, where homeless people could find their home. The majority of these empty buildings are in private hands, but local authorities also have great responsibility in leaving buildings such as this one unused for years. Instead of taking care of them, they leave them to dilapidate. This building alone could serve as a home for at least 10 families,” said Jutka Lakatosné, another homeless activist.

The squatters were supported by dozens of young activists forming a living chain at the entrance of the building as well as an ever-growing group of protesters on the other side of the street. The supporters were chanting slogans such as “Housing, not jails” and “Right to housing for all!” The head of the local authority’s real estate office agency visited the house and told the protestors that the local authority has no responsibility whatsoever either for homelessness or the abandonment of the house. Five hours later the police arrived in great numbers and arrested one by one the activists blocking the entrance of the building. The activists did not cooperate and therefore were carried by police to police cars. The supporting protesters first chanted “We are with you” right near the activists. Later, the police pushed them back where they could not see the arrests anymore, but they stayed until the last one of the activists was taken away from the location and supported them with loud drumming and chanting.

foglalás1_1.jpg“I do not have housing worthy of human dignity either, I am just temporarily allowed to stay in an otherwise empty building which does not have heating. Nonetheless I do not fight for myself alone: we would like everyone to have access to decent, affordable and healthy housing, and we want the government and the local authorities to take responsibility for this,” said László Dombovári, a homeless activist. In Hungary there are currently millions of people suffering from various forms of housing poverty. Ten thousand of them are living in the public spaces or shelters of Budapest. Around half a million families have arrears that threaten their housing, and every fifth household gets behind with their mortgage payments due to lack of resources.

The City is for All supports the demands of the homeless activists. We have organized several marches to raise awareness about empty buildings and demand their utilizationspelled out our related policy recommendations, and protested for the codification of a right to housing and the establishment of an extensive system of social housing. According to The City is for All, the implementation of a right to housing should include a ban on evictions without the provision of acceptable housing alternatives as well as housing policies that ensure access to decent housing for everyone. Right to housing would not mean the provision of free housing by the state, but that the state establishes and maintains a system of housing policies that ensure fair access to housing for all members of the society.

Editor’s Note. Thanks to the Reclaiming Spaces mailing list for the heads-up. The blog post above has been very slightly edited to make it more readable.

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Filed under film and video, protests, urban movements (right to the city)

Tell Hungary That Being Homeless is NOT a Crime (petition)

www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/721/472/797/

Overview

  • Target: Hungarian President Pal Schmitt, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, 8th District of Budapest Mayor, Mate Kocsis and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird.
  • Sponsored by: Concerned Citizens of the World

In Budapest, Hungary, the Mayor of the 8th District, Mate Kocis, recently passed a regulation that makes being homeless a crime. According to the BBC, homeless people can be arrested, imprisoned and forced to pay a $600 fine.

The BBC states that the only reason why this law passed was because the public did not want to deal with the homeless anymore. As this district is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Budapest, this new law will have a devastating effect on thousands of people.

Being economically disadvantaged is not a crime and should not be considered one. But that is just what this legislation is doing: criminalizing the poor. The homeless need support, not to be considered as criminals or nuisances to society.

Tell the President, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of the 8th District in Hungary that homelessness is not a crime. They should be funding more programs to help these people get off the streets, not finding more ways to hurt them.

Petition

We the undersigned, demand that the regulation recently passed in the 8th District of Budapest that makes being homeless illegal, be revoked. Homelessness is not a crime and you should not be punishing people because of they are economically disadvantaged. You should be supporting them and finding solutions to help them get off the streets and live better lives. All citizens, regardless of class should be supported by their governments.

Please show the world that you support your citizens by getting rid of this regulation.

Thank you.

Sign the petition here.

Thanks to Comrade D. for the heads-up.

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Filed under activism, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, urban movements (right to the city)