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New government strategy announced to improve housing for Roma

Housing and community infrastructure should become more accessible to Roma citizens and the number of illegal Roma settlements should drop by 25 percent within the next eight years, states the Roma Integration Strategy document approved by the government on January 11, the TASR newswire reported. The tools to implement these goals are further development of lower-standard housing co-financed by EU funds and adjustments to legislation on the provision of housing benefit. In the future, state housing benefits would be paid directly to landlords and would only apply to housing-related fees, TASR wrote.

Housing and community infrastructure should become more accessible to Roma citizens and the number of illegal Roma settlements should drop by 25 percent within the next eight years, states the Roma Integration Strategy document approved by the government on January 11, the TASR newswire reported.

The tools to implement these goals are further development of lower-standard housing co-financed by EU funds and adjustments to legislation on the provision of housing benefit. In the future, state housing benefits would be paid directly to landlords and would only apply to housing-related fees, TASR wrote.

According to the Office of the Government Proxy for the Roma Communities, living conditions in the Roma communities have deteriorated significantly over the past 20 years and, in addition to being illegal, most settlements do not comply with technical and hygiene norms and have little or no infrastructure. The Sme daily reported in its January 12 issue that the UN Development Programme found that as many as 16 percent of Roma in Slovakia lived in shanties.

The aim of the new integration strategy is to improve the access of Roma citizens to housing, education, employment and health care.

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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