Housing policy, as an overall strategic planning and implementation of measures and programmes related to various housing situations (from acquiring ownership over an apartment, through independent lease, to various types of housing support), de facto does not exist despite the strategic and legal documents adopted. In Serbia, the necessary institutional framework on housing policy has not been established, nor have programmes been developed that would improve housing conditions and legal security of tenure in the short and long term, and recognize housing as a basic and universal human right. The housing sector is recognized exclusively as a lucrative mechanism for investment and capital increase, and government interventions in this sector are aimed at facilitating the conditions for investment and housing construction. Sporadic projects aimed at ensuring the fulfilment of the right to adequate housing take place spontaneously, through various support programmes of international organizations or, less frequently, publicly funded subsidized housing programmes that discriminate against the potentially most vulnerable beneficiaries. There are no reliable and comprehensive data on housing needs, nor on a publicly owned housing fund.
This approach to housing is a direct cause of the growing number of citizens who do not live in adequate, safe and affordable housing. Although the absolute number of housing units is growing, housing inequality is also growing – while the number of those forced into some form of homelessness or insecure housing is increasing, the number of apartments that do not serve their basic function, housing, but are a mechanism for making a profit, legalization of illegally acquired capital or safe savings, is also growing.
The Housing Equality Movement, initiated by the organizations Who Builds the City, The A11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights, Housing Centre – Centre for the Improvement of Housing for Socially Vulnerable Groups, the Ministry of Space and the Joint Action “Roof Over Your Head” is gathered around the guiding principle that adequate, safe and affordable housing is a fundamental right that must be guaranteed to all, regardless of their income, gender, ethnic origin or any other affiliation.
Relying on our own practice, whether it be direct action in the field or research, we believe that it is necessary that housing policy and practice at the local and national level, as well as all documents that determine them, treat adequate, safe and affordable housing as the key topic of public interest and a necessary step towards inclusive, balanced and sustainable development of society as a whole. As organizations with a focus on housing justice, housing policies based on the right to home and fight to defend this right, we have gathered in a coalition that will respond to growing problems in the field of housing and housing policy and will fight for structural changes that provide adequate, safe and affordable housing for all.