Pata Rât area is a spatially segregated informal urban settlement, in a condition of multiple deprivations near the city landfill, where currently approx. 300 families are living. The 4 settlements in the area formed mostly after repeated evictions of poor, mostly Roma families, from central areas moved to the city-outskirts. This combined with the immigration of poor people from the nearby villages coming to find means of survival in the landfill.
Current living and life conditions constitute constrains for adopting firm interventions from authorities for the desegregation and resettlement of the population from the Pata Rat area:
- a) The waste dump is expected to be closed the latest in 2015 in the framework of a European project implemented by the County Council. Thus many families (approx.150) currently working in selective waste collection at the landfill will lose their source of income, while their very low educational and professional qualifications, combined with their family responsibilities, considerably harden their possibilities of employment. Considering the fact that the majority from these families have no alternative housing in other parts of the city or the region they will try to seek survival in the city.
- b) Being a heavily polluted industrial area, approximately 6 km away from the city, conditions for local infrastructural development for decent housing are not hoped for the next 20 years (minimum environmental regeneration period).
- c) Currently, the Pata Rat area constitutes the main destination of the marginalization slope for families who are at high risk of losing housing and employment in the city. Despite the extremely deprived conditions, the number of population is continuously growing.
The personal and family histories of people from Pata Rât and Cantonului area incorporate historical processes of political, economic and social change that disadvantage the Roma and deepen the divide between the majority and the marginal. Their struggles to ensure a decent living and a home for their children happens against a background of large scale unemployment, little state support for vulnerable and marginal categories and persistent prejudices blaming “the Gypsies”.