Following their evictions, six families have occupied empty housing in Parma, Italy and are refusing to leave. Below is a translation of a statement from the ‘Parma Housing Rights Network’.
The crisis hits hard and indiscriminately. Just a little bad luck and suddenly you can’t find the minimum social guarantee and well-being that allows you to have a peaceful life.
Migrants, who are the weakest link in the chain because they are blackmailed at all levels, and young people are seeing more and more that they are being denied any prospect of a future. But the crisis is beginning to hit many Italian families and individuals hard, even the Parmigiani [people from Parma – ed.].
Evictions are one of the clearest indicators of the fact that the crisis is deep: evictions are mainly for rent arrears of those who can’t pay it anymore because income is scarce and rents are exorbitant, thanks to the trust that our leaders have placed on the market.
Today [19th November 2011 – ed.], six families with very young children were forced to recover for themselves what the market continues to deny them: access to housing that corresponds to their income. These are families who have been evicted because of economic difficulties that arose due to the loss of work or because the jobs that they have can’t sustain the astronomical rents.
After their eviction they were only offered the possibility of dividing the family, with assistance only provided to mothers with young children. Now they have occupied housing that had been left empty for years to the advantage of speculators.
They did this to live; because after the eviction they were forced to find refuge in their car or in shacks or as temporary guests of friends or at hotels at their own expense (€ 2500 per month).
The failure to respond to natural and human social needs will force more people more often, following their normal instincts, to take what they are entitled to. We will be at their side.
Parma is a city too often mistakenly considered an exemplary model of welfare: as regards housing policy, blatant announcements of interventions have been made one after the other and are praised as resolving the emergency (Parmabitare, Casadesso, Social House, etc.).
Nothing could be further from the truth. Emergency measures – such as blocking evictions, requisition of vacant properties and a serious tax on big properties – should be taken following the 500 evictions in 2011, almost all of which were for rent arrears, as well as the real estate repossessions for those who could not pay the mortgage.
None of that. In fact, only widespread mobilisation, radical and continuous will be able to change drastically the existing situation and recover the right to housing now denied to too many.