Housing for the vulnerable and most deprived in Cluj Metropolitan Area

HOUSING

Challenge

Pata Rat area, located around the city’s landfill, is one of the most eloquent examples of social exclusion in the north-western part of Romania. Housing deprivation is the biggest challenge for over 1,500 people, mostly Roma, living in this periphery of Cluj-Napoca, together with pollution, isolation, segregation or stigmatization.

Solution

Cluj Metropolitan Area Inter-Community Development Agency decided to take the lead in promoting the social inclusion of the marginalized communities in Pata Rat Area since 2014. With the support of of the “Fight against Poverty” Programme, supported by the EEA and Norway Grants 2009-2014, 35 families relocated from Pata Rat were given apartments bought or constructed by project money outside of the city of Cluj-Napoca, in three of the villages of the Cluj Metropolitan Area (Apahida, Florești, Baciu). The 143 individuals (75 adults and 68 children) relocated from the area received psycho-social assistance designed as a family support to facilitate the transition from Pata Rat to the majority community to adapt and integrate into new communities in order to comply with contractual obligations, with the aim of long-term intervention to maintain housing in good conditions, preventing their abandonment and return to Pata Rat.

The assistance and family support provided were identified and worked on the following areas of intervention, addressing the personal and family needs of the moved: registration in the property card and facilitation of contact with the administrator; new ID card, with the new address; transfer of pupils to school (for those parents who have applied for the intervention); enrolment at school/nursery school; career guidance and employment support; easing access to and improving the quality of health services; placement of children; social benefits; interviews with a view to the approval and extension of the agreement to accept in space; development of volunteer services through the recruitment, training and supervision of students (bachelor and master level) from the Faculty of Sociology and Social Care; development and provision of tutoring services at home with the help of volunteers; accompany with different institutions/services. Families were regularly visited by the responsible case manager, also maintaining the link and phone, as well as meeting at the headquarters of different institutions or CMA.

The issues addressed in the individual and family counselling were the following: Resource management and financial advice (gas, electricity and water management); Household maintenance; The management of relations between the partners; The management of intra-family and cross-community conflicts (including conflicts with neighbours); Links with the extended family; healthy lifestyles, nutrition and health in general; Parental and development skills; Childcare; Education, such as children’s educational and behavioural problems; Career guidance and counselling.

A second project, also benefiting from the support of EEA and Norway Grants, operated by the Romanian Social Development Fund, aims at replicating the integrated interventions for inclusive housing already piloted during the first intervention. Another 30 families will benefit from house in different areas of the metropolitan area and post-movement assistance.

In parallel, the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca also launched a multi-annual program to provide decent housing for the most vulnerable inhabitants. This program includes building new public dwellings or purchasing them from the real-estate market, but also covering part of the rent for the families that cannot afford it (so-called ”rent vouchers”).

One of the main challenges for the next years is to increase the number of housing units owned by the municipalities in order to totally disolve the marginalized community in Pata Rat by the end of 2030.

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