a first step towards the coordination of collective action for housing rights
On the European day of action for housing rights, more than 120 people gathered at Eleftherias square in Athens, in order to participate at the first open assembly on the right to housing and the right to the city. Participants represented a range of groups and organisations and voiced their concerns about the housing situation and the forthcoming measures and reflected on future actions.
The main issues that were discussed focused on the forthcoming liberalization of auctions of foreclosed houses and the general attack (via increased taxation) on homeowners and small property owners.
Other points that were made include the issue of increased homelessness and of people living on the streets and/or in highly inadequate housing; the problems faced by the former beneficiaries of the Workers Housing organisation; the problems faced by a number of social groups (such as young people and students, older people or vulnerable social groups) that see the existing social infrastructure closing down and the (already limited) welfare provisions further curtailed.
The general feeling was that there is a need of a broader coordination among groups, individuals and organisations in order to collectively resist against the expanding housing crisis and to develop alternative practices and policies with the participation of movements and grassroots organisations.
Ideas for next steps fall under three broad directions:
- the need to inform, network and mobilise affected people, but also to create a broad alliance for housing rights,
- the need to develop alternative social housing and welfare policies based on existing resources and know-how and,
- the need to develop alternative and radical practices that can directly answer immediate housing problems and needs in a collective way.