On a recent dreary day in Beer Sheva, a disabled 77 year old Holocaust survivor returned to her home of 20 years to find her lock had been changed. An eviction order had arrived the day before with no court order, no explanation, and no discussion with the tenant. Workers from Amidar, the public housing company, had carted her furniture and belongings away, changed the lock, and broken her floor.
Amidar claimed, without proof, that the woman was not living in the apartment. Shatil’s Public Housing Forum sprang into action, found proof that, indeed, she was living there and let the world know what had transpired through posts on Facebook that received hundreds of likes and shares. They met with public housing officials and with the Minister of Housing himself.
“Even if there had been a basis to Amidar’s claim that the tenant didn’t live there, they would have had to go to court,” said Shatil advocacy specialist, Danny Gigi, who was involved in the struggle. “You can’t evict someone from public housing without a court order.”
The very day the Forum reached Housing Minister Yoav Galant, the ministry sent a special envoy to Beer Sheva who put the Holocaust survivor up in a hotel. The next day, they started renovating the apartment and promised she would return to it within a week.
“Without our intervention, an elderly Holocaust survivor would have been thrown out on the street,” said Gigi.
The Public Housing Forum is monitoring the situation.
Photo via Flickr