Jussbuss’ political project on public housing in Norway

In Jussbuss, all the students are working with both cases and with politics. Our aim with the political work is to change the laws in our clients’ interests. In that way we can give our clients a voice they are lacking in the current debate, and we believe we can prevent injustice from rising at an early stage. We have a lot of projects, and one of main projects is to improve the laws on when the municipal has to offer public housing for the most socially deprived part of the Norwegian society. This post will explain a little more about our work within this project.

The rules on public housing today do not impose any duties on the municipal on offering an apartment to those who are unable to find and pay for one on their own. The law only asks for the municipal to contribute to this process. Last spring, the government proposed new law on public housing. Unfortunately, this bill did not make the municipals duty to help find and finance housing more rigorous. Jussbuss thinks that this is very unfortunate – we believe the law should impose on the municipality to make housing available, and even as important; to offer apartments of a certain standard. One of our biggest mission this fall is therefore to influence the politicians to re-formulate the final bill and adopt it in our clients’ advantage.

Like with every political project in Jussbuss, we use our background from the case work to influence the politicians. In this matter, we have seen many unfortunate situations. For instance, one family lived in a house full of bed bugs. All the family members had large, open wounds because of the pest problem. Even though the ailments were documented by a doctor, the municipality disagreed with our claim that the home was not suitable for the family and that they should get a new one. The municipality had nothing else to offer them. In cases like these, there is nothing else for us to do; because the law does not give the municipality any duties to expand their offer or better the situation.

To fulfill our political aspirations, we do a lot of different things; we write consultation response on the bill, we invite or get invited to meetings with the politicians in Parliament, we write articles to the media, do interviews, join, or arrange debates on the subject and make or contribute to social media campaigns. We don’t always obtain a breakthrough with our points of view on how the law should be, but knowing how important this topic is for our clients; we will keep using our voice to change the laws in their advantage.

Marie Biornstad