Monday, April 14

No Eviction Yet - update on today's activities

The flat is tiny, windowless and stuffy in today's very hot weather. People are sitting all around, on the couches and on the floor; Activists, community leaders, caring neighbours, friends, everyone and of course the mother and her young children.
The family is about to be evicted.
The little curly-haired girl sits on my lap, crying. She's stressed, scared of loosing her home any minute now. Two weeks ago, she already spent 2 nights in a public garden with her mother and 7 young sisters and brothers. I try to comfort her while holding 2 phones, while the third phone, on my lap, keeps ringing, i find it difficult : on one phone the media, on the other one Ms. Vered Sued, the priminister's counsellor for welfare:
Reps from welfare services, the ministry of housing, but nothing really moves.
Nothing, well hardly anything. The housing ministry took away the mother's rent subsidy 7 months ago, a bureaucratic mistake, which we managed to repair, the new rent subsidy eligibility form arrived today by fax, the ministry are willing to pay her back the money she missed out all those long seven months during which she did not receive rent subsidy (and could not pay her rent, which led to her being evicted from her privately rented apartment 3 weeks ago and squatting the current flat from which they want to evict her). The public housing (Halamish) flat she squatted 2 weeks ago, had been empty for over one year, in spite of the long waiting list for public housing.

We managed to find her another apartment, but the place will become available only towards the end of the month and the family doesn't have that time.
We try to convince the public housing company (Halamish) to allow the mother and her children to stay for 15 more days in the flat, until they will be able to move into another rented flat. Halamish do not want to hear about it. Unless, unless we deposit a guarantee of 100.000 NIS .
None of us have that kind of money, if we did, we would have solved the problem with it.

We continue to update the police outside, informing them we are trying to work out a solution and can they please wait a little longer, to give us time to find an acceptable alternative. Over time it becomes obvious they don't like this job, they'd rather not kick the family out into the streets. A silent truce is formed with them.
If the family will be evicted, welfare threaten to take the family's children away. The children become so scared, one of the young children runs off, to hide from the welfare services. The family is poor and they have no other options. But taking away the children is inhumane. Why should children pay for the mistakes of the housing ministry? For the stubbornness of the public housing company, Halamish?

As of now, the family are still in their home, but a real solution is not in sight, so the mother has started to wrap up the family's few belongings, ready to at least save a few things when the police will arrive, as we all know they will, perhaps tonight, maybe tomorrow.

Jaffa, almost Passover, but there is little freedom in Jaffa.

Over 200 families are on the waiting list for public housing. They have been on that list for years. About 500 families stand to be evicted from their homes and they will need public housing too. Yet over the last 10 years not even one public flat has been constructed in Jaffa.


kamila said...

In German,Poland during second war used to be the same.....

Poor child said...

great! thanks very much for sharing!