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Published on March 27th, 2015 | by Belicia Ranti Setiamarga


Deprivation of Housing towards Lower Class Citizens: A Frail Policy Enforcement of Chapter 28H of the UUD 1945

How often do you encounter a beggar or a homeless person in the streets? In big cities, homeless people and slum areas are often found, including in Jakarta. In the census done by BPS in 2010, there are 18,935 homeless people found in 33 cities in Indonesia, while a data from the Ministry of Social Affairs stated that there are 25,662 homeless people, along with 175,478 beggars. These numbers are certainly concerning, considering the lower class citizens (poor people) sum up to 375,700 lives. In 2008, there are 2,277 slum area locations, with 570,347 residents in Jakarta (ciptakarya.pu.go.id, 2014). Added with the high number of slum areas existing around Jakarta, it should have piqued the concern from the government. Thus, housing deprivation is a form of social exclusion happening to the lower class citizen because of poor policy enforcement from the government.

Tsakloglou and Papadopoulos (in Abrams, et.al, 2007) offered a definition where social exclusion has five key attributes: multidimensional, dynamic, relative, agency, and relational. Multidimensional refers to a wide range of indicators of living standards, including neighborhood or community resources. Dynamic relates to the current situation and also prospects for the future. Relative implies to an exclusion in a particular society at a particular time. Agency lies beyond the narrow responsibility of the individual. And lastly, relational refers to a major discontinuity with the rest of society. While John V. Wilson (in Byrne, 2005) offered two versions of exclusion, strong and weak. A weak exclusion happens because of the excluded individual’s own doing, while a strong exclusion is an exclusion that happens because of an oppressing structure.

Homeless people and beggars, are a part of citizens, according to Walker and Walker’s thought (in Byrne, 2005). They are a member of a community who have rights and duties that has to be fulfilled. Hence housing deprivation is categorized as a citizen’s deprivation of rights, since in Indonesia’s constitution (UUD 1945) Chapter 28H verse 1, it is stated that every citizen has the rights to live prosperously body and mind, have a place to stay and have a good and healthy living environment, and also the access to healthcare. Moreover, as in chapter 34 verse 1 of the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945) it is stated that the poor people and neglected children are the responsibility of the state. This passage actually guarantees that the welfare of these people will be taken care of by the state. But in reality, we can see in the status quo that there are thousands of people wandering in the streets because of homelessness.There is still a high number of citizens having inadequate settlements, while it is stated in the UU No. 1/2011 that it is the government’s responsibility to provide housing to its citizens, especially citizens in the middle-lower class, who are not able to afford a decent housing. While, Chapter 20 of Perda No. 8/2007 of DKI Jakarta about Public Order forbids anyone to build a dwelling or live in the roadside or beneath flyovers, railways, under the bridge, bicycle lanes, parks and public spaces.

In this case, there are two actors that experiencehousing deprivation, citizens who live in inadequate dwellings or settlement (slum areas), and citizens who are not even able to afford a dwelling at all (homeless people). Government should provide stable housing for these citizens, especially for the ones who are not able to afford a basic living. But instead of working on providing housing for the people in need, the government focused on developing the commercial vertical housing (rumahsusunkomersial) or better known as apartment buildings, while at the same time neglecting the development of public vertical housing. Furthermore, the commercial housing was handled by private developer companies – whose orientation is to gain profit. Thus, the price for apartments is far from cheap.Otherwise, the socio-economic situation of each person are different, and this difference in income, wealth, and education contributes to the capability to afford housing and other living arrangements. Because of that, there isn’t enough rumahsusunto cater the number of lower class citizens who needs a decent dwelling. Citizens are deprived of their rights to have a decent dwelling because of this, so they live in the streets, under bridges, etc.

At the same time, the regional government of DKI Jakarta issued a policy, forbidding people to live in public spaces (Chapter 20 Perda No. 8/2007 about Public Order) in order to create an orderly society, without realizing that the homeless people they are restricting to live in public spaces is a result of the state’s negligence to provide them a stable housing. Because the government failed to provide stable housing for these lower class citizens, they have no choice but to resort to building illegal and patched-up dwellings in public spaces. In short, these people are oppressed between two policies without any clear solution to their current settlement problems. This deprivation caused them to be excluded from the society, since they do not have equal resources with others.

Identifying housing deprivation as a form of social exclusion requires a few reasoning. The situation where lower class citizens are not able to afford housing is affected by a few things, such as the policy by the government, its enforcement, their socio-economic situations, and their resources. The exclusion happening then could be seen as multidimensional, because it affects and is affected by these things. The differences existing in the society in economy is one of the things that keeps exclusion happen.

If we look at the current situation, the government hasn’t issued any policies regarding the homeless, and there aren’t many policies regarding slum areas. Although the existence of homeless people and slum areas are not wanted, it does not mean that the government should turn a blind eye on the problem. Regulating about homeless people helps in providing a legal guideline on how to handle the existence of homeless people and slum areas. It’s dynamic.

Housing deprivation is not something that can be solved by the homeless people themselves. As ‘victims’ of housing deprivation, homeless people are deprived from other aspects in live, such as security and healthcare. Deprivation in terms of economy, like wealth and access, also affects their capability to afford housing. When people have stable housing, they no longer need to prioritize finding a place to sleep each night and can spend more time managing their health, or getting healthcare. Housing also decreases the risk associated with further disease and violence. In many ways, housing itself can be considered a form of health care because it prevents new conditions from developing and existing conditions from worsening.

It was clearly stated that providing stable housing for the citizens are government’s responsibility (see Chapter 28H UUD 1945, UU No. 1/2011). But in fact the government shifted their focus, instead developing commercial housing which purpose is not to shelter homeless people and lessening slum area residents, but to cater the wealthy, higher-class citizens. The oppression happening to the homeless and slum area residents portrays a strong exclusion where the policy issued by the government (structure) were the ones that caused them to be excluded from the society.

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About the Author

Belicia Ranti Setiamarga

An avid reader of novels. Takes interests in religion, law, and policy making. First Lady of HMS 2015.

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