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Most Czech parties mention social housing in election manifestos

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Prague, Aug 26 (CTK) – Social housing might be introduced in the Czech Republic in the nearest years because most of the ten parties with voter preferences above 3 percent at least vow to introduce social or financially accessible flats in their respective programmes before the October 20-21 general election.

The parties’ ideas of a social housing model differ, however.

Representatives of the Platform for social housing NGO say they expect the new government to prepare the relevant bill as quickly as possible after the elections.

The present centre-left coalition cabinet of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), in power since early 2014, originally pledged to push a social housing bill through as of 2017.

However, the bill’s preparation was lengthy due to the coalition parties’ discord on it, and finally, the bill was blocked by the rightist opposition in the Chamber of Deputies.

The Platform for social housing says neither the opposition nor the coalition politicians had enough will to pass the legislation.

“The bill has been awaited by almost 200,000 people in acute housing deprivation. We know that their number continues to rise. The bill was also awaited by many towns which do not want [controversial] dormitories [for the poor] in their territory and which would like to solve the problem with the help of the state,” the Platform wrote in a press release.

In the debate on social housing, parties have differed on who should be eligible to it and who should secure the flats for the deprived.

Their ideas in this respect continue to differ. It is not clear what approach would be taken by the ANO movement, the favourite of the upcoming election, since ANO has not released its election programme as yet.

The CSSD writes in its election programme that social housing should be as accessible as possible mainly to seniors, single parents and the disabled. The party wants to create maps of flats according to the height of rents in various localities.

The Communists (KSCM) are for defining a compulsory share of social flats among those on offer. They want to prevent massive buyouts of flats and houses and the transfers of low-income residents to one place to live together in.

The conservative TOP 09 wants to secure social housing for the most deprived, such as poor seniors, single parents and the disabled.

The Civic Democrats (ODS) want a multi-level social housing system. They vow to prevent the misuse of the state subsidies that go to the operators of the infamous dormitories for the poor that many condemn as “trading in poverty.”

The Pirates and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) both mention “a programme of accessible housing” in their manifestos.

According to the Greens, a new law should be passed to define those eligible and define the rule of town halls, NGOs and flat owners in social housing.

The Greens, too, refuse to subsidise the dormitory operators.

Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct democracy vows to prevent the distribution of “unrightfully high” state subsidies to social housing, in an allusion to the infamous dormitories.

Only those who live orderly lives deserve help, the party says.

A social housing plan has also been outlined by the Mayors and Independents (STAN) in their election manifestos.

The CSSD, the KDU-CSL, the Greens, STAN and the KSCM pledge to support the construction of municipal flats.


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