Lack of Social Housing Mobilizes the People
Chile’s homeless communities have taken to the streets.
SANTIAGO – They are protesting against the lack of social housing policies for the more vulnerable sectors of the country.
The Settlers Movement (UKAMAU): a social and cultural community composed of homeless workers, professionals, housewives, students, and the unemployed from the area of Estación Central, have become pivotal in this movement and vocal in the promotion for change. Protesters claim that existing social inequalities in the country make it impossible for disadvantaged Chileans to become free of debt or emerge from their social situation.
Housing shortages have been identified as one of the country’s most pressing social problems. In 2001, the Government established the Housing Solidarity Fund (FSV) to tackle this and reduce the deficit. The group has already invested US$400 – US$3,000 in repairing and expanding the ‘emergency’ houses of the 1990s.
Secretary of The Settlers Movement (UKAMAU) released the following statement.
‘Thousands of families remain overcrowded while others have no house at all. There is no housing policy that can help them secure one. We have seen housing policies that end up pushing families into debt, and only care about promoting real estate businesses, banks, and lenders. It is time to rebuild our communities.”
Now the movement has taken to the streets demanding the implementation of Decree No. 49. This will enable people to stay in the communities that they have become a part of and not be sent to the peripheries of the city.
The President of UKAMAU has claimed that, “Everything will be in vain without the decree since social housing is the only option for our families.”
He continued, “While we have a number of criticisms and objections to Decree No. 49, our housing needs are urgent and even a policy that is not complete is preferable to no policy at all.”