Tuesday 17 January 2012

Blockade Action Successful

The Tenants´ Defense Committee is continually shocked and appalled by the heartless and cruel practices of landlords and the state, which flagrantly fails to care for those in need. The Committee, ZSP and other friends - squatters, "indignants" and some left activists - all moved to block the actions of a bailiff against a terminally ill woman, fighting to keep a roof over her head in the middle of winter.

The facts are sad: the woman has cancer and is terminally ill. She has 3 children, the youngest 7 and 10 years old and cannot work. She is living on alimony and some small payments from social services. But the fact is that the social payments are never enough to cover most people's basic expenses and the woman fell into debt. This woman was not a tenant, but was in a housing cooperative and, when she fell behind on her payments, the cooperative sold the flat out from under her.

In such cases, there should be municipal or social housing available, so that a person like that and her family do not wind up in the street. Not in Warsaw since it is a city and even state policy to divest in public housing, selling off, privatizing  or destroying existing assets and building at a very low rate that doesn't even cover a part of the housing lost, never mind begin to address with the real social need. For such people, the only future is the street.

It is still illegal to evict people out into the street with nowhere to go in the winter. That doesn't mean that landlords don't do it regularly. Owners also have different ways to achieve the same effect. For example, it is illegal to evict them, but not illegal to come and change their locks. Which is what a lot of them do, achieving the same effect. Or they cut off heat, gas, electricity, water... In this case, the owners sent the bailiff to change the locks. Also "somebody" called the electricity water, posing as the inhabitant of the flat, claiming that they would like the electricity turned off. Of course, this was false information to the electric company. The activists blocked the bailiff, but then met the worker from the electric company. After explaining that nobody living there actually requested the electricity be turned off and explaining that this is a common form of harrassment, the man from the electric company also left.

In the meanwhile, we will now try to get this woman into some decent housing and get some help. We remind the city that we know exactly where the city is keeping empty flats and we have no reservations about taking public property out of the mismanagement of the bureaucrats and corrupt administration and promoting its use by those who really need it.

Article from mainstream media (Polish): http://warszawa.gazeta.pl/warszawa/1,34862,10976659,Przegonili_komornika__Nie_przejal_lokalu_z_mieszkancami.htm