1. Who they are
Habita! is an independent collective established in 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal, that fights for the Right to Housing and to the City, understanding these two components as directly connected and which face the same challenges in the multiple processes of segregation, precariousness, discrimination, vulnerability, and impoverishment that exclusion brings. Habita! promotes self-organization and awareness, related to insufficient housing policies, by empowering citizens to fight for adequate housing compatible with the income of the inhabitants, integrated in the city life, with access to mobility, culture, equipment and services. For the Rethink 2018 Habita! came together with two tenants unions, the London Renters Union (LRU) and the Syndicat de Llogaters (SdL) from Barcelona
2. What they did
Rethink grant 2018 allowed Habita! to organize three exchanges – study visits:
1) to the London Renters Union;
2) to the Syndicat de Llogaters, Barcelona;
3) receive these two tenants’ movements in Lisbon, in a three-day-long discussion to reflect on how Habita! has been organizing and be inspired to find new and more effective ways to enhance the work of all of the involved organizations.
From the experiences of the European Tenant Organiser Exchange 2019 in Barcelona, that aims was to outline some of the debates held there on different forms of tenants’ organisation, and offer an insight into the issues organisers are facing across Europe and their solutions to them.
The experience has been fundamental to create a more structured assembly, oriented to build both personal and collective strategies of resistance and solidarity while empowering people affected by housing problems as collective agents of change.
3. Why is this relevant to the FundAction community?
By promoting exchanges within European organizations the activists’ network will be reinforced and a more solid net for Human Rights and Social Justice activists could be established. Furthermore, the base of Habita!’s project such as Peer-to-peer education and collective construction of knowledge are fundamental in processes of Solidarity building between activist organizations and to empower local actions, to guarantee better answers to housing issues and problems around city commons, increasing the democratic values and hopefully empowering civil society in Lisbon, London and Barcelona.