Czech Radio reports that a petition against the alleged intention of the Kutná Hora town hall to transform the campus of a former military barracks into housing for the socially vulnerable has been making the rounds there. Residents fear a “Romani ghetto” will be created on the town outskirts and that crime rates will rise as a result. The town hall leadership says there are no such plans in the works.
Roughly 2 500 people have already signed the petition. Residents primarily are greatly concerned that Romani residents of the Neškaredice quarter might be moved into the former barracks.”When Romani people live all together in one place, they don’t have as much discipline,” local resident Tomáš Gryč told Czech Radio.
The Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Romani Localities, which has produced a study on how the town’s Romani locality is being made use of, is definitely not counting on any such moves. Mayor of Kutná Hora Ivo Šanc says no “Romani ghetto” will be created in the town: “There could be housing for seniors there, a nursing home.”
Vice-Mayor Jiří Franc tried to explain the whole situation on the town website. “There does not currently exist any town project for the reconstruction of those two buildings or for the use of the adjacent lots. Such a project will be designed and refined and the public will be apprised of its steps. There is enough time for all of this, the preparations will be made carefully,” the Vice-Mayor stated. He also refuted the rumors that the municipality would be buying in to the apartment complexes in Neškaredice.
“The town has never had and currently does not have the intention of organizing any kind of relocation of Romani people. We do not intend to target them for assistance or anything like that. This is absolute nonsense and I would like to know who has come up with this blather,” Franc said.
Today at 17:00 CET the town hall will be holding a public gathering in the Rytířský sál of the Vlašský dvůr building. Officials will present their intentions with respect to social housing in the town in detail.
ryz, Czech Radio, translated by Gwendolyn Albert