Thursday 10 March 2011

Jola's last words to the city bureaucracy

Jola was a very engaged activist and went to all meetings with the city bureaucrats, even though talking to them usually proved useless. One colleague reminded us of what Jola said the last time we met to discuss with the bureaucrats. The city was represented by Tomasz Krettek (TK).

TK:  Under certain conditions you can apply to the neighbourhood (council) and they will help. I understand from what you are all saying that we should raise the criteria (for being eligible for public housing) for people from reprivatized buildings.

(Voices from the auditorium): Yes!

JB: You are talking about income criteria and that if somebody meets this, they will be helped. I cannot pay my rent. The owner tells me to pay 2500 zloties. (625 euros). I owe 80-90 thousand zloties. (20,000 - 22,500 euros). Who is going to pay for me, because I don't have anything. I applied for (replacement) municipal housing, because the court denied me social housing. (Note: that is a very poor roof over your head, given to homeless people who have been evicted.) The Borough office refused because there were no flats available. This is in violation of the law, in violation of the resolution of the City Council. There is nobody to help me. I am still waiting.

And so the late Jolanta Brzeska tried time and again to point out her problem, which thousands of other people in this city face. She used to be able to pay her rent when she was a tenant in municipal housing. It was affordable for her. Then the city privatized her flat and the rent was 625 euros - much more than she earned! At the time of her death, she was receiving about 350 euros a month.

In general, the city considers people who earn "that much" to be able to rent a flat on the commercial market. After a long struggle, the city raised the criteria slightly for retirees from reprivatized houses. So Jola QUALIFIED for municipal housing and should have received a replacement flat. But they gave her a hard time. Some bureaucrats told her that she can't get a flat and should live with her daughter. Others claimed there were no flats available. In the meanwhile, she was stuck with the slumlord who harrassed her and a growing debt.

We condemn the whole policy that leads to such situations. At the same time that this mass privatization started, the city decided to also decrease the amount of public housing units. Where are these people supposed to go? There are no affordable places for them to rent.

The answer, unfortunately, is that is they do not go quietly and live out the rest of their days in some corner of a relatives' overcrowded flat, the only place left is the cementary.

Demanding a reaction from the bureaucrats on March 9, we only heard the following about Jola's case: "It is still pending".  !!!!