Tens of thousands of Hungarian children denied access to basic services

November 17, 2016

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Translation of open letter to Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog accompanying a digital petition concerning the lack of access to public services of homeless children and their families.

“There should not be any families without an official address!”

Open letter to Minister Zoltán Balog about the rights of children and their families without official address.

In Hungary today there is a housing crisis as a result of which as many as 100,000 people have no official place of residence.  Within this more than 60,000 people do not have a valid home address and more than 20,000 people only have a so-called municipal-level address.  More than 6,000 people only have an address of residence.  These people not only suffer from not having a secure place to live but also from lack of access to basic public services (e.g.: social and health care, education).  This problem seriously affects children.

Today in Hungary 4000 young children do not have a valid address, which effectively excludes them from every service, and 1500 young children only have a so-called municipal-level address, which greatly complicates gaining access to services.  The number of children at a disadvantage because their parents have problems with their official address numbers in the tens of thousands.  Despite being Hungarian citizens, they do not have access to basic services because of exclusionary laws.

Children and their parents without an official address or with an invalid address either have no access to the following services or can only gain access with great difficulty:

  • State-supported health services. Only those children with reported places of residence or settlement are entitled to these services.
  • Child support (“gyes”).  Only those parents may receive who have a registered address in Hungary.
  • Family support (child-rearing services, educational support). Only those can receive it who have a registered residence in Hungary.  In some cases, only these with a registered address can obtain the “gyed” form of child support.
  • Children protection discount. Only those whose address is listed in the central database are entitled to the school lunch program.  Only those with reported official address qualify.
  • The so-called settlement supports (such as the housing support, medicine support, or the temporary support) require a reported address or place of residence.
  • In order for a child to attend school or kindergarten (at least one where matriculation is assured), they also need an official address.

In an absurd manner, the families of some 1500 young children with municipal settlement addresses created for the children of the homeless and their families to provide them access to the services listed above (eg. free school lunch program) do not have access because of the requirement that they possess an official address which proves they live together as a family. (For example, the children’s protection discount, financial support, free school lunch program).

Dear minister!

We asked that you immediately take steps in the interest of granting to many tens of thousands of children access to the most important services.  People struggling with problems of address are members of the most vulnerable part of society who, under the current laws in force, are being pushed in the direction of exclusion.

(Signed:)

The City Belongs to Everyone (A Város Mindenkié), Street lawyer (Utcajogász), The Chances for Children Association (Gyerekesély Közhasznú Egyesület), the Gold Liliom Foundation (Arany Liliom Alapítvány), the network of the uninvited (Hívatlanul Hálózat), the Family, Children, Youth Public Association (Család, Gyermek, Ifjúság Közhasznú Egyesület), Civil Liberties Union (Társaság a Szabadságjogokért), the Association of Hungarian Women (Magyar Női Érdekérvényesítő Szövetség), the Association from Street to Flat (Utcáról Lakásba Egyesület), the Rezső Hilscher Social Political Association (Hilscher Rezső Szociálpolitikai Egyesület).

Additional information: www.avarosmindenkie.blog.hu