R-HOME - Roma: Housing, Opportunities, Mobilisation and Empowerment

Project

R-HOME - Roma: Housing, Opportunities, Mobilisation and Empowerment

Financed by the programme Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, Call: REC-AG-2018, funded by the European Commission.

R-HOME is a research project that addresses specifically the topic of Roma housing. Housing conditions of Roma minorities in most of European Countries is very bad and extremely discriminatory. Mechanisms and process of discrimination and exclusion have to be studied systematically and in a comparative manner, to be able to address precise policy instruments and regulations and improve inclusionary effects. Problems and solutions have to be discussed with Roma leaders and activists, to avoid top-down useless policy recommendations. The complexity of housing inclusionary policy have will discussed looking at four topics (leaving shanty-towns; anti-discrimination devices; social support in affordable housing; access to bank credit). For each of these topics, understanding trust norms between Roma and street level operators (housing market agents, bank agents, and social workers) is a primary objective: reaching a scientific understanding of social norms dynamics regulating non-discriminatory behaviour, trust, reciprocity and stereotypes brain-washing in the housing policies for vulnerable housing families. Equally, it is important to explore how such norms vary according to the residence type of the Roma communities (i.e. shanty-towns vs. official camps vs. public shelters, etc.), and in the interaction with social workers and other civil servants and private agents.

In previous researches many scholars underline a very high level of discrimination experienced by Roma to access to affordable housing, or even in the private housing market. This result has been confirmed by the 2015 Report on the implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Previous social work realized by the partner organisations of the R-Home project, as well as empirical researches realized by the CEE-Sciences Po, show astonishing stories of Roma discrimination in the housing market as well as forms of rejection from neighbours. At the same time, our researches on strategies to combat Roma discriminations point on the important role played by NGOs, teachers and social workers in promoting advocacy and mediate conflicts binding ties and helping durable integration. Here it is the puzzle. NGOs, social workers and teachers’ behaviours are not enough to help and support large process of durable housing integration. What are the mechanisms and policy process that help combatting housing discrimination? At this point we can make an hypothesis: anti-discrimination devices in public policy could be very effective in contrasting Roma stereotypes and discriminatory behaviour by private agents in the housing sector. But this is just a hypothesis! It requires to be articulated with concrete analysis on structural contexts of opportunities, to see if affordable housing units are safe and available, the quality of the housing offer and its price. We have looked carefully at the literature in scientific journals and in research reports, and there is a true lack of evidence-based evaluations of anti-discrimination programs in the housing sector addressing anti-gypsyism and Romaphobia.

The team at CEE will lead the development of an empirical research, conducted with a strong integration between rigorous research activities and participatory methodologies to listen to the voice of the concerned groups. The research project is carried out and implemented in accordance to the standard academic procedures for policy evaluation, with deontological consideration related to the participation of Roma in focus group and other research activities.

Our main goal is to implement an innovative research design on housing policies for Roma in France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, and Spain.
In particular, the research aims at the fulfilment of 4 knowledge objectives:
The four topics are related to improving our knowledge on:

  1. explicit policy targeting Roma living in slums and shanty towns;
  2. anti-discrimination devices for helping Roma accessing homeownership or tenancy;
  3. orms of social support to manage conflicts and help very vulnerable Roma individuals and families to integrate their neighbourhood and reduce the risk of housing instability;
  4. programs and projects aiming to improve the access to loans and credits in the formal bank system.

 

The research will include:

Structured interviews with interviewer concerning the 4 topics of the comparative research:

  • 5 interviews with experts on Roma issues per country (France, Italy, Romania, Hungary and Spain) (Total: 25 interviews)
  • 20 interviews with Roma people per country, including Roma activists (Total: 100 interviews)

Focus groups with Roma people

  • A classical method of participatory research will be implemented, listening directly the voice of Roma and their assessment of housing policies through focus groups. 2 per country (Total: 10 focus groups)

8 partners institutions from 5 countries are involved. Partners are active in social, legal and educational domain and include NGOs, universities/research centers and public institutions. They are:

  • Autonomia
  • Bicocca University-Department of Sociology.
  • Caritas Alba Iulia.
  • Comune di Milano
  • FAGiC (Federaciones de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluna).
  • Fondazione Caritas Ambrosiana.
  • Tarki - Social Research Institute.

 

Team