Public Defender Demands Legislative Regulation of Score-Granting Procedure for Homeless Persons

On August 16, 2017, the Public Defender addressed the Chairperson of Tbilisi City Assembly and the Mayor of Tbilisi with regard to the legislative regulation of the procedure of granting scores to homeless persons during providing shelter for them.

Tbilisi City Assembly set up a commission for registration of homeless persons and provision of shelter for them on the territory of Tbilisi municipality by the Decree N49.03.1384 on December 9, 2015. A representative of the Public Defender's Office participates in the commission meetings as an observer. As a result of the observation it was established that the part of the procedure of providing shelter to a homeless person, which refers to the granting of scores to a citizen, is not regulated by any legal act.

Accordingly, scores are granted to homeless persons on the basis of personal opinions of the commission members, who independently determine the amount of scores on the basis of specific criterion or priority. It is noteworthy that the granted score essentially determines the issue of providing shelter by the Tbilisi Government.

According to the Public Defender, the practice of granting scores without legal regulation creates the risk of unequal and/or arbitrary application of the procedure and violation of the rights of homeless persons. It is necessary the mentioned issue to be regulated at the legislative level. In addition, based on the principle of transparency, the target group of assistance and the public should be fully informed about the procedure of providing shelter to the homeless and distribution of state resources in this field.

The use of evaluation system without any legal regulation impedes the commission's objective, transparent and effective functioning and threatens the rights of homeless persons. Accordingly, the Public Defender requested legislative regulation of the procedure of granting of scores to citizens as well as definition of specific scores for each priority and criterion.

According to Tbilisi City Assembly, relevant amendments to the legislation are scheduled for September. The Public Defender hopes that the process will be irreversible and expresses his readiness to involve his representative in the process.

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