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Housing situation of foreigners in Chile: the main findings of the investigation of the Jesuit Service to Migrants and Colunga

January 4, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

The investigation compiled the testimonies of 272 beneficiaries of the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM) of Antofagasta and Santiago, as well as representatives of migrant organizations, experts from non-governmental organizations, the private sector, representatives of the central government and municipalities, with the objective of fully understand the barriers and particular problems that different communities face.

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According to the survey Casen 2017, while 78% of the migrant population of the country rents the property in which they live, 35% do so without a contract and paying almost 20% more of the average rental value than the non-migrant population. While 25% live in overcrowded conditions.

"This reality has multiple causes and effects, nuanced in turn by the particularities of the different migrant conglomerates: from exposing to abusive lease conditions promoted by the irregular migratory situation, consequence of the bureaucratic processes of migratory regularization, added to the pressure by reduce their living costs to the maximum in order to increase the savings sent to their families, which leads them to sacrifice their own conditions of habitability, "they highlight in the document.

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Know some of the main findings of the investigation:

There is an institutional gap in attention to Early Housing Vulnerability, derived from (a) a empty of roles among the responsible public actors (ministries, municipalities, etc.); (b) inexistence of institutional housing alternatives according to the migrant needs, mainly regarding the time of permanence in the first house (20% less than a month and 60% less than six months), type of family and budget limitations; and (c) Weakness of information channels, being currently the personal networks the main form of access to housing and information.

The accessible housing offer for migrants - both through the formal and informal markets - presents a series of deficiencies, related to the precarious tenure conditions (high rate of joining and leasing of pieces), the low standard of habitability (overcrowding and poor constructive quality), difficulty of municipal control and multiple barriers to access the formal housing market (administrative, economic and social).

The Habitational Policy is not presented today as a real solution alternative for the attention to the Early Housing Vulnerability, given that it presents temporary barriers (deadlines), administrative (requirements), lack of knowledge and dependence on the formal housing market, which constitute insurmountable limitations as their current instruments are formulated.

Do you want to read the full report? Download it here.

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