|Amsterdam: Celebesstraat 33-36 facing eviction|
25 november 2008 - We have now hung several banners in front of our windows! https://squat.net/celebes/spandoeken/banners.jpg
8 november 2008 - This letter has been distributed in the neighbourhood. Read the full background story here: https://squat.net/celebes/background8nov.html
Neighbourhood letter and summary of background story
November 6th, 2008
We, the squatters of Celebestraat 33/34 ground floors, are being evicted from our home. The new owner claims that he plans to renovate the social housing apartments and sell them at a high price. The judge has decided to evict us but is her decision just? We disagree and therefore we refuse to leave voluntarily.
The ground floors of Celebesstraat 33/34 were squatted on February 24, 2008. At the time, the buildings were owned by Tamacht. As in many of his properties, the consequences of years of neglect were clearly visible: leaking pipes had caused floor beams to rot and break, water damage had turned material stored in the space into trash. Based on the terrible state of the floors, the police decided that the squatting action was legal and justified. As a result, the squatters cleaned up the mess, repaired the piping and floors and turned the rotten space into a home.
After extensive building work, we began working with our upstairs neighbors. The tenants of 33 had lowered their rents because of Tamacht's neglect in maintaining the safety of the building, resulting in a leaking roof. Tamacht had started a legal procedure to force the renters out, but he had to withdraw the case cause it was based on too many lies. The tenants in 34 were Bulgarians who Tamacht used as his cheap and illegal work force and anti-squatters who left their homes because Tamacht never gave them a legal rental contract.
The unsafe state of the buildings plague the neighborhood council as well. Stadsdeel Zeeburg has a Werelds Wonen-project intended to give the Indische Buurt a global flair by renovating the buildings in disrepair and shamelessly forcing the poor renters out of the neighborhood. With letters and fines the neighborhood council tried to force Tamacht to conduct repairs but the efforts were futile. Tamacht managed to mislead the authorities with lies and excuses, such as in June when he pretended that he had found a contractor to renovate. Yet, that same week he sold Celebesstraat 33/34 with an 800.000 euro profit, the leaking roof included and no inspection of the ground floor. This was a pity since a housing corporation was also interested in the buildings to renovate and maintain the buildings as social housing.
The new owner, Abzik, claims to intend to renovate the buildings. His plan: convert the social rent apartments into luxury housing and make profit by selling them. Blinded by their Werelds Wonen delusion the stadsdeel is happy to assist: Abzik pays the authorities to send their official Stoelinga to pressure the remaining tenants to leave and the Building Inspection approves an unsound renovation plan. In this plan, some load bearing walls are supposed to be torn down with consequential risks of collapse of the entire structure. The Building Inspection says that they will keep a close eye on the safety of the renovation, yet approve of such a plan.
The remaining tenants refuse to give up their houses. For principle reasons, they turned down the offer of the Stadsdeel to look for replacement public social housing with an urgency status. Bypassing thousands of others on the waiting list to facilitate a private owner to make profit by selling their apartments is unacceptable to them. Abzik is forced to accept their presence and must contend with the squatters if he increases his harassment of the renters. What will happen to the renters when the squatters leave, however? He cannot make a profit with the renters inside, so his only solution is to harass them to leave, something that he knows will be easier without the squatting group to support the renters.
We, Kraakgroep Celebesstraat, disagree with the process around the selling of these houses and the treatment of the renters. Owners have the responsibility to maintain their properties for safety and habitability. But in pursuit of profit, they use the renovation to turn affordable social rent apartments into unaffordable houses for sale.
Stadsdeel Zeeburg presents the Werelds Wonen-project as a programm of improvement where in fact it is forced gentrification. The neighborhood council wants to attract as many yuppies as possible. Meanwhile tenants who cannot afford high rents or to buy, often working class with immigrant roots, are forced out of the neighborhood.
We, the squatters of the Celebestraat, stay in our houses out of solidarity with the remaining tenants in the building, and to protest the Werelds Wonen Delusion of stadsdeel Zeeburg and how this program is used to legimitize the corrupt process around the selling and proposed renovation of these houses.
celebes AT squat.net //// squat.net/celebes
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