Almost 160 people move from Pata-Rât to the metropolitan area of Cluj

CMA IDA last week marked one of the most important moments of the project “Integrated interventions for inclusive housing and combating marginalisation in the Metropolitan Area of Cluj”, informally abbreviated Pata 2, namely the allocation of apartments in which the 31 families selected for relocation from Pata-Rât will live.

In total, 158 people are to move to their new homes, located in Cluj-Napoca (9 apartments), Floresti (18), Apahida (2) and Gilău (2). Despite a very competitive real estate market, the ZMC team managed to purchase an apartment in addition to the objective assumed for financing, namely 30 apartments. The apartments are owned by ZMC and the beneficiaries will pay a modest monthly rent. Over the past week (15-19 May), the selected families attended a training session on their rights and obligations, then signed the contracts and received the keys to the apartments.

Signing of the leases took place on 16 May/Photo: George Maier

124 applications were submitted for housing. The 31 families were selected on the basis of criteria developed by “Babeș-Bolyai” University, Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance – partner in the project. The three committees that assessed the applications were composed of independent experts. In the next stage of the selection, a careful matching was made between the purchased apartments and the selected families, taking into account a number of criteria such as special needs and the number of members/family and, of course, the wishes expressed by the family members.

We considered housing the most important side of this project and used every opportunity to increase the amount for the purchase of apartments. The financing application was written in 2018, and since then, prices for apartments in Cluj-Napoca and the surrounding area have increased steadily. We managed, however, to relocate a family in addition to what we set out to do, by redirecting money from other activities to living activities", explained Monica Gräff, project manager.

The project, carried out between December 2019 and August 2023, is worth almost 4.3 million euros, a sum coming from the Norwegian Funds and is implemented by ZMC, in partnership with the Directorate of Social and Medical Assistance (DASM) Cluj-Napoca, “Babeș-Bolyai” University (UBB) and Bergen City Hall, Norway. Its aim is to ensure a complex, multidisciplinary intervention for the desegregation of the marginal area Pata-Rât.

Concretely, the following main results have been achieved so far:

Housing

· 31 apartments were purchased in Cluj-Napoca (9), Floresti (18), Apahida (2) and Gilău (2). It was successful to purchase an apartment in addition to the objective assumed for financing, namely 30 apartments.

· All the apartments purchased were equipped with the following household appliances: washing machine, refrigerator, stove and hood; plus basic furniture

· BBU partner is working on completing a methodology for selecting, relocating and offering post-movement services, as well as developing replicable and scalable public policy proposals in this regard.

Training session with the beneficiries/ Photo: George Maier

Education

· Footwear and clothing were purchased and distributed to nearly 100 pupils in order to be able to present themselves decently at school.

· Worked individually with 93 students to prevent school dropouts.

· BBU partner organised over 230 non-formal activities (cultural, artistic, touristic, etc.) to combat school dropout.

· CMA has provided mentoring, guidance and meditations to more than 30 students.

Other results:

· A new Community Social Center, on Plevnei Street, no. 158, operated by SMAD, with 1,200 registered beneficiaries has been equipped and licensed.

· Medical examinations and consultations were provided to more than 250 people.

· SMAD partner delivered more than 60 kits for newborns, worth 2.300 lei, each.

· The effort of Cluj City Hall during the lockdown was supported by the delivery of 3.350 free food packages to the Pata-Rât community.

· 120 kg of firewood were distributed for each family in the marginalised area in March 2023, amid the persistence of low temperatures.

· Three times as many housing applications were received, compared to the previous similar project (124 vs 41), which we attribute to the process of increasing trust towards the authorities.

One of the families who moved in Cluj-Napoca/ Photo: Dan Tăuțan

Last but not least, we note that the World Bank indicated as an example of good practice at national level projects financed by the Norwegian Funds in Pata-Rât in November 2021. The UN Agency for Training and Research (UNITAR) has also selected the project to be presented as a model of intervention at the World Family Summit 2022.

Together with the previous project, carried out between 2014 and 2017, CMA relocated for reintegration about 300 people from Pata-Rât. After six years, out of the 35 families moved to the first project, in only one case this reintegration was not possible, and the beneficiary returned to the community, while the apartment was reassigned to another family in Pata-Rât. Therefore, the success rate of the first project was 97 %. We expect at a comparable rate for the second," CMA Director General Zoltan Coraian said.