Legal residence is not given
The Projekt DOM.ov has been operating in the village of Vtáčkovce since its foundation, since 2016. The interest in self-help legal construction among the inhabitants of the Roma community was significant from the beginning. The Roma in Vtáčkovce have nice, brick houses. The lifestyle and social status of the Roma living here does not differ from the majority middle class. They are employed and focus on their children’s education. Conservators, teachers, social workers with higher education live in the local Roma settlement.
The only problem and age-old trauma of the Roma from Vtáčkovce are unsettled plots and illegal constructions. The extensive settlement is located in the outskirts of the village, segregated on plots of land which, after recent land changes, belonged to the local community of owners. Anything to be done on these lands, be it technical infrastructure such as roads, water supply, sewerage, or legalizing buildings, is directly dependent on the will or unwillingness of the thirty-five co-owners of the land. And it was a significant “reluctance” or hostility that affected the process of self-help construction of family houses of our clients.
Eight families have been preparing for the construction of their legal homes for the third year. They saved up money to buy a plot of land, bought a building plot from the municipality, paid for the development of project documentation and started to process the building permit with our help. However, the access road to the land became a stumbling block. Since it runs through the central part of the Roma settlement, which is located on unsettled land, the consent of the owners was required. And they simply did not give it. Of the thirty-five owners, only eleven gave their consent….
Access to legal housing for Roma in Slovakia is not a given. It is rather a struggle with windmills, the driving force of which is hostility towards the Roma. However, we do not give up and continue to defend our clients’ right to housing