Challenging the household debt in Eastern Europe
1. Who they are
Periféria Policy and Research Center is a politically engaged collective working on issues of
housing, real estate, spatial equality, formally established in early 2018. The group has been working together in various setups on urban and housing issues for almost ten years. The main themes in Periféria Center are: the relationship of state and market in the field of real estate development; the financialization of housing; gentrification and displacement; and housing cooperatives in the broader context of developing the commons. Periféria acts as connectors between organizations and individuals in these various fields, and believe that doing translating work on the interface of research, market actors, public policy, civil society and political groups and the wider public has significant added value in itself.
2. What they did
Periféria Center conducted research, making interviews with households in debt (10 households), local support institutions (social workers, municipal institutions), and with corporate actors involved in the market of debt (claims management or debt collector companies) as a way to strengthen a different narrative on debt, through an understanding of the structural conditions of indebtedness, and also through understanding the position of households. Following the research, Periféria organized two workshops on the topic of household debt. In the first (22-23rd of November), entitled “Household debt on the peripheries of Europe: new constellations since 2008” participants were invited from all the European peripheries. The second workshop (December 14th) was dedicated to civil society organizations and other professionals working in Hungary around the issue of household debt. Workshops have been documented by notes, photos and voice recordings, and were summarized in a booklet.
3. Why is this relevant for the FundAction community?
Democracy and inclusion cannot be achieved without the means for economic participation in a community. This project is relevant to FundAction’s values because it addresses an issue that is invisibly gnawing away at a large chunk of European society, creating hopeless traps of poverty in economically relatively prosperous countries.