In Argentina, land titles are needed if families hope to obtain government subsidies and achieve recognition of their rights as citizens, which include access to basic public services such as garbage collection, sewers, police presence, etc.
The quest for secure tenure in La Matanza, Buenos Aires has been one of our major initiatives over the last three years. Legal literacy, which we hold workshops on during our Habitat Tent events, plays a fundamental role in this project, raising awareness among the population in regard to their rights and possible options.
The settlements 22 de Enero, Puerta de Hierro and St. Petersburg on the outskirts of Ciudad Evita are collectively covered by a provincial government decree which grants land rights to the families residing in these settlements, stating that the government is also required to provide property titles. Yet various issues have prevented the granting of these titles; a fact which, among other things, makes it difficult for families to obtain housing subsidies as approved by Caritas Nacional Argentina, a major player in Argentine non-profits working with impoverished communities. It also leaves families feeling less sure about investing significant time and money building a permanent housing structure.
In the struggle to resolve this chronic situation, HFHA has the gained the support of a group of more than 20 pro bono lawyers from Marval O’Farrell and Mair. As well HFHA works in partnership with the local entity “Fundacion Concordia” to coordinate activities with grassroots organizations, local parishes, Caritas Nacional Argentina and other national human rights associations. Through the mobilization of willing volunteers, including Global Village brigades, it has been possible to rebuild a sense of hope that was lost in 2004 because of excessive delays in government response. With that hope, and drive, the neighborhood continues to build their future and requesting from authorities a response in regards to their right to the city. It’s a lengthy process but we are dedicated to resolving a situation that has been stagnant for a decade, and as a result allow 15,000 people to gain access to legal tenure.