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Several Families Might Remain Homeless

July 14, 2010
Nino Gelashvili

15 families, whose shelter belongs to the Patriarchate, might remain homeless. The families live in poor social conditions. Among them are 30 children; some of them are infants. The Patriarchate intends to open a branch of the Georgian Institute after St. Andira in the building. The residents of the building state they have nowhere to go. They were warned to leave the space before July 12. Otherwise, they will be evicted under force. None of the residents have signed the protocol to leave the building.

Nino Butkhuzi and her husband have been living in the building together with their 5 under-age children for two years. Before, they lived in basements of several schools. None in the family have a job and their main income is welfare. Nino Butkhuzi is grateful being able to take shelter in the building but now she does not believe that the Tbilisi City Hall will assist them again.

The Tbilisi City Hall has already refused to help Zaira Bidzinashvili. The explanation for this was that her registration in Kaspi district; though she does not have any shelter there. “My son has pathologic drunkenness and sells everything for alcohol. My daughter-in-law had a still-birth; I have one grandchild with asthma and one single daughter. I cannot work. I have taken welfare in the form of 30 GEL for the first time this month; the family members received 24 GEL. If they evict me from here, I do not know where I would go: I will kill myself! I have already decided,” said Zaira Bidzinashvili.

Several years ago, the Ministry of Economics reserved the building of the former vocational colleague in Libani Street # 33 in the Avchala settlement of Tbilisi to the Patriarchate. Under the blessings of the Patriarchate, Nodar Shiolashvili was supervisor of the building. During the Russian-Georgian war in August of 2008 internally displaced people were also sheltered there. Later, IDPs received different accommodations and left the building. The people under the poverty level continued to occupy the building with the permission of Shiolashvili. Two IDP families still live there. Nodar Shiolashvili said the people knew it was only a temporary accommodation but they were unaware of a possible exact date for their removal. The inhabitants of the shelter claim the opposite; they claim they were guaranteed to live 3 years in the building.

Since November of 2009, Iago Ghudusghauri, has been supervisor of the building. As a mother, Nino Butkhuzi is very thankful to Ghudushauri. She said Ghudushauri even assisted her with money for the medical treatment of the children. Several other  inhabitants stated Ghudushauri provided the Patriarchate with false information as if there were no inhabitants in the building.

According to Ghudushauri this was true shortly after the IDPs left the building and current inhabitants were not yet living there.

Mariam Gagua, representatives of the press-center of the Patriarchate: “They requested temporary accommodation. As far as I know they were allowed to live there. They knew it was temporary shelter before they found a better place. Later, some more families sheltered the building illegally. All in all, they do have a right to remain there.”

On July 12, when the protocol of eviction was signed, the representatives of the Christian-Democrat Party arrived in Libani Street # 33. The Chairman of the Gldani district office of the political party, Merab Svanidze, said that they will negotiate with the Patriarchate about the problem and will do their best not to leave the people in the street.