Orphans leaving care wait years for housing
Anna Kuznetsova, the Russian Federation’s Children’s Rights Commissioner, has expressed her anger over the failure of regional authorities to provide orphans with living accommodation. According to Kuznetsova, the law clearly states that orphans on reaching 18 years of age are to be given priority in housing provision. However, in practice orphans are having to wait several years to be housed despite court rulings. The number of children appealing to the courts for housing increased from 29,383 to 31,161 in the first five months of this year. According to the Children Commissioner’s website, the chances of orphans receiving housing in Saratov are like playing the national lottery.
“Providing housing for orphans should not be a lottery as is currently the case in Saratov – it is a duty that is enshrined in law”, said Kuznetsova. She believes that appropriate measures need to be developed at inter-agency level to resolve the housing situation for orphans and for proposals to be submitted for consideration by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian Government. Kuznetsova will also ask the Saratov authorities to revise their system for allocating housing to orphans leaving children’s homes. “I am well aware that regions cannot physically or financially resolve this situation in one go which is why I am asking for this to be dealt with at federal level through the use of legislative procedures”, said Kuznetsova.
According to Government statistics, only 63.89% (4,403 billion roubles) of the total grants’ amount had been allocated from the federal budget by Russian regions to provide housing for orphans as of 15 October. In six regions, only 30% of these funds have been disbursed. According to Government forecasts, the regions have to provide housing for 29,362 orphans by the end of the year.