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Respekt in English2. 4. 20089 minut

House of horrors

The agents of companies offering fast loans will find the place blindfolded. Their business is blossoming in Předlice, a suburb of Ústí nad Labem.

  • Autor: Respekt
• Autor: Respekt
Fotografie: Helena Féčová. - Autor: Karel Cudlín • Autor: Respekt
Fotografie: Helena Féčová. - Autor: Karel Cudlín • Autor: Respekt
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The agents of companies offering fast loans will find the place blindfolded. Their business is blossoming in Předlice, a suburb of Ústí nad Labem. The vast majority of local houses are inhabited by exceptionally poor people who depend on welfare benefits. The stiff regularity of the benefits has always offered a good perspective here, but nothing lasts forever: The 2,500 Roma in Předlice personify concerns that Czech Romani ghettos, officially labelled as a „socially excluded locality“, will be dominated by unemployment, prostitution, drugs, as well as other problems – such as the trap of hopeless debt that an increasing number of people in Předlice keep falling in. Former town hall officials worsened the fall, while current officials promise to tackle the issue. Still, we cannot say hope lurks behind the decline of the former burgher district.

Rents like in Prague

A trolleybus ride from the Ústí nad Labem centre to the Předlice micro-world takes less than 10 minutes, but it is a huge leap. From neat houses, colourful shop windows and rushing people in Ústí, we pass through an industrial park with smokestacks, a labyrinth of pipes and cold-looking warehouses to a different world. Most houses in the run-down streets do not have doors. If there is a door, it bares a tag saying, „Lock the door“. Another tag, on a block of flats near the local school, says: "Piss off, we don't…

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