Implementation of Housing Services in the Context of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
In January and March 2022, the Public Defender’s Office monitored 11 social housing facilities operating in 7 municipalities of Georgia (Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, Gori, Batumi, Ozurgeti and Zugdidi).
The monitoring made it clear that the problems related to homelessness remain unchanged at the national level from year to year and require systemic solution from the State. In particular, no housing strategy or action plan has been developed so far; There is no concept of a homeless person corresponding to international standards, mechanisms for the prevention of homelessness, information about the extent or forms of homelessness. As a result, even in the municipalities where the social housing and rental assistance services are available, the criteria for considering a person homeless do not meet the international standards of the right to adequate housing.
At the same time, the funds mobilized in the budgets cannot fully cover the demand and hundreds of people remain beyond the provision of housing.
The monitoring made it clear that:
- In some facilities, living conditions are degrading, and sometimes they even pose a threat to the lives and/or health of the residents;
- Facilities are located in former administrative buildings and are unfit for living, there is constant noise and overcrowding;
- Some facilities are located on the outskirts of the city, in an undeveloped urban environment, road and transport infrastructure is in poor condition;
- Geographical accessibility of pharmacy and hospital is also a common problem.
None of the facilities inspected are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Only the social housing of Tbilisi has a social worker and administration.
Varied criteria and priorities for inclusion in the social housing service, lack of uniform standard at the national level and faultiness of applicable regulations were identified as systemic challenges.
The interests of persons with disabilities, their individual needs, access to infrastructure and information are not taken into account in the service planning process.
The challenges identified show that it is important for the authorities to:
- develop a housing strategy and action plan, which will set the revision of housing services, bringing them into line with international standards and introducing long-term services as one of the priorities.
- develop detailed standards of social housing and apartment rental services, which will set requirements for the service quality, implementation and effective monitoring by the state;
- ensure that the creation and development of services by municipalities are based on the results of the study of the local population’s housing needs.
On October 11-13, the Public Defender’s Office introduced the present special report to the representatives of local self-governments and discussed the challenges relating to the right to adequate housing and solutions to the problems.
The social housing monitoring was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Joint SDG Fund.