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Community-led campaigning in Turkey which has extended the right to housing for people affected by major earthquakes has been named as one of the finalists of this year’s World Habitat Awards.

Düzce Hope Homes is the result of a 15 year rights-based struggle in Northern Turkey. A cooperative was set-up to fight for the right to housing to be extended to tenant victims of earthquakes in 1999, who did not receive post-disaster support from the government. After many years of mobilisation and activism, including mass demonstrations and government lobbying, they eventually secured subsidised land on which to rebuild their homes and community.

Cooperative members have been involved in the planning, design and construction from the beginning. Groundwork on the houses has begun with people expecting to move into their new homes in 2018.

Dursun Teper, who is a member of the Düzce Solidarity Housing Cooperative for Homeless and Tenant Earthquake Victims, said:

“Until fifteen years ago I had lived hopelessly. The reason for my hopelessness was the fact that I could not own a home. It was at this time when the 1999 earthquake hit. We were devastated. Following the earthquake the state built houses and provided property owners with apartments. We were living in prefabricated houses when we discovered that we, tenant victims, also have rights.”

He continued:

“Our hope started to grow. The cooperative was set up and the legal process began. We started to fight for our rights. We have achieved things that we never believed we would.”

David Ireland, Director of World Habitat, funders and co-ordinators of the World Habitat Awards, said: “This is a great story of solidarity, resilience and tenacity. The strength and achievement of the community really shines through and has received widespread interest, support and enthusiasm from experts and volunteers.”

Each year the World Habitat Awards are presented to ten of the most outstanding and innovative housing projects – from over 100 entries from across the world. The judges are particularly keen to award projects that have not only produced outstanding housing solutions but those that can also be copied elsewhere.

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