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20.11.2017 - A PANEL WAS ORGANISED IN BACKI GRACAC DUE TO RESETTLEMENT OF FAMILIES FROM SUBSTANDARD NEW SETTLEMENT

On November 17, 2017, Housinig Center assisted the Municipal Administration of Odzaci in organizing a tribune in Backi Gracac, on the occasion of the construction of eight housing units on the territory of this local community in order to move families from the substandard New settlement in Bogojevo. This construction is part of the project "Supporting the Adequate and Sustainable Housing of Roma in the Municipality of Odzaci – For Each Roma to Have a Home" which, among other things, envisages the construction of 34 housing units in five local communities in the territory of the municipality of Odzaci - Bogojevo, Karavukovo, Bački Brestovac, Bački Gracac and Lalić.

The meeting was organized in the premises of the local community Bački Gračac. Residents who live in the neighborhood area of dentified plots for the construction of future facilities were invited on the panel. Incidentally, all the members of the receiving community, from the immediate surroundings, were settled in Backi Gracac after the wars in Croatia and Bosnia as refugees and displaced persons and through the joint programs of the municipality of Odžaci and partner organizations got their houses for use, that are in their ownership.

Representing municipal administration, discussion was attended by Latinka Vasiljkovic, President of the Municipality, Snezana Grujicic, Head of the Department for Social Services and Andrija Djuric, Roma Coordinator. Housing Center has provided technical support, suitable short films and 3D views of future houses. Also, President Branislava Žarković introduced the members of the receiving community with the project, the current course and plans.

Finding that new neighbors from the Roma community will soon be resettled, the locals have not been accepted with approval. Although they themselves had suffered persecution from their hearthstones, they did not have the understanding for solving the housing issues of their fellow citizens from the Roma community. A couple of speakers spoke out of the group with clear views that they are against the resettlement of Roma families, mostly because of their sources of income, hygiene, "different" housing culture and other stereotypical views on the Roma community. According to them, it is necessary to solve the housing issues of the residents of the New settlement, but not in their neighborhood.

In an open discussion, it has been tried to point out that it is necessary to give a hand of support and friendship, and that all beneficiaries would go through workshops for to adapting to new housing conditions. It was indicated that the beneficiary families will be bound by the contracts to respect the rules of residence and that they may bear the sanction of cancellation due to possible violations. It was also stated that the identified plots were some of the few free infrastructure-equipped plots owned by the municipal administration as if the entire process of displacement was voluntary and that eight families had chosen Bački Gračac as a place of their future housing.

The meeting showed that it is necessary to work with the receiving communities continuously, in order to influence the changing of rooted stereotypical images. The panes are also planned in other local communities as a regular activity within the project implementation.

 
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