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Mălin-Codlea – legalization of informal settlement in Brașov county

‘Mălin-Codlea’ project, entitled ‘Accountability of citizens in the field of housing’ was implemented between July and December 2014 by the local administration of Codlea Town (Brașov county, Central Development Region of Romania) in collaboration with the Roma Association of Făgăraș. It targeted a Roma community lacking property documents in the Mălin district of Codlea since it was relocated in the 1960s to an area nearby the landfill, which happened in the context of socialist systematization and was not legally regulated ever since.

The project could not be completed in the terms set in the call for applications by the funder, the National Agency for Roma. It was expected that it would serve 150 households from Mălin neighborhood, but only 10% of the targeted households went through a process of legalization, and only partially: 15 families could buy the land under and around their houses from their own pockets, so they gained ownership on land. Therefore, this action, which promised to repair the injustice that this community suffered in the past, ended up re-creating injustice among its members. Three years after its implementation, the municipality started a project co-financed by the European Social Fund under a poverty alleviation and social inclusion program, which aims at ‘solving the legal situation of 175 households in the community’.

Policy-makers should not forget that in the case of many people informal housing is a solution to their disparate condition, in which they are unable to provide other housing alternatives for themselves and their families. Even more, one should also note that getting legal documents in the case of situations characterized by housing deprivations cannot be the final aim. In such cases, the endeavor should be completed by improving people’s housing and infrastructural conditions, their access to public transport and public utilities, as well as by eliminating all the sources of pollution from the neighborhood where people are supposed to enjoy their property rights.

For more information on this Case Study, please contact: Iulia Hossu (iulia_hossu@yahoo.com)
and Enikő Vincze (eniko.vincze10@gmail.com), Desire Foundation, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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