4.6 Access to quality services
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There is no housing policy in the Republic of Croatia focused solely on addressing the needs of young people. However, young people can use measures that have been established to address housing issues in all sections of the population.
The Act on State-Subsidised Housing Construction (Zakon o društveno poticanoj stanogradnji, NN 109/01, 82/04, 76/07, 38/09, 86/12, 07/13, 26/15, 57/18, 66/19, 58/21) was adopted with the aim of enabling citizens to solve their housing issues under terms significantly more favourable than those on the market.
The right to buy a flat from a Programme of State-Subsidised Housing Construction (POS) is available to all citizens of the Republic of Croatia, and the advantage is given to first-time buyers who have not properly solved their housing issues. This means that they do not own housing that is adequately equipped with communal infrastructure (water, sewage) or that does not meet the hygienic-technical conditions for healthy housing, which is about 35 square meters of usable area for one person, or for every other person, around another ten square meters. Amendments to the Act allowed the lease of flat which are built according to the POS scheme with the possibility of buying property to meet housing needs.
An Act on Housing Loan Subsidies (Zakon o subvencioniranju stambenih kredita, NN 65/17, 61/18, 66/19, 146/20) regulates the subsidizing of housing loans for the purpose of encouraging demographic renewal of society, urban regeneration of settlements and the reduction of emigration among young families and assisting citizens. Citizens get loans from credit institutions to buy a flat or house and/or for the construction of a house in order to resolve their housing issues, and loan subsidies may be requested by a public notice published by the Agency for Transactions and Mediation in Immovable Property. Loan subsidies are secured in the state budget of the Republic of Croatia.
Subsidizing loans for the purchase of a flat or house, and/or the construction of a house, for solving one's own housing issue is granted under the conditions and in the manner prescribed by the Act. Subsidies may be granted to a citizen who is a resident in the area of the Republic of Croatia who qualifies for a housing loan established by a credit institution which, and who is not older than 45 years at the time of submitting an application. The basic requirement is that the applicant or his/her spouse or partner, a life partner or an informal life partner, owns no flat or house or owns only one flat or house that he/she is selling it for the purchase of a larger flat or house and/or house construction due to a need for one’s own housing.
The Act provides for additional subsidies if, for example, the applicant or a member of a family is a person with disabilities and if the family increases in the anticipated term of subsidizing by the birth or adoption of the child.
In the context of education, the Ministry of Science and Education is responsible for the system of pupils' boarding homes (učenički domovi) and students' dormitories (studentski smještaj). The Ordinance on conditions and manner of exercising rights of full-time students to subsidized housing (Pravilnik o uvjetima i načinu ostvarivanja prava redovitih studenata na subvencionirano stanovanje, NN 63/2019) provides for the right to subsidized accommodation in students’ dormitories, pupils’ boarding homes and subsidized accommodation of students staying with private landlords.
Pupils' boarding homes are educational institutions at the level of secondary education, which, as a part of their education, provide accommodation and meals for students while attending secondary education. Pupils' boarding homes annually publish a contest for admission of pupils into boarding home in which they publicly announce the number of vacancies and conditions for admission to the boarding home for the next school year. If more pupils apply than the number of available places, the pupils’ boarding home makes a selection according to the established points. Individual family, health and social circumstances allow students to achieve more points. For example, a higher score is achieved by a student living with one or both parents with long-term illness, a student who lives with a long-term unemployed both parents, a student living with a single parent or a social welfare user.
Accommodation in students’ dormitories is awarded based on a public tender. Student centres issue a public call for tenders for student accommodation and a public tender for the granting of housing subsidy for each new academic year. The point-based system comprises of points based on the average grade and academy performance with additional points based on socio-economic status. For example, additional points are assigned to a student with one parent who is deceased, missing or unknown, a student who has a sibling of preschool age or in full-time education, a student who has a sibling with developmental disabilities due to which the sibling does not participate in full-time education, conditioned by living in a common household, a student who is a child of divorced parents living in a single-parent household with only one parent, a student who has one or both parents with a 100% disability, a student with disability in 6th-10th category (10%-50% of bodily harm), students whose common household is a beneficiary of minimum income allowance (permanent support for compliance with social security regulations) and students with low monthly income per member of the common household. The right to direct accommodation is granted to students whose both parents are deceased, missing or unknown, students who were placed in social care centres or foster homes until the age of 18, students with disabilities (50% of disability or more).
A social services system that would focus solely on young people is not established. Young people can exercise their rights under the general social welfare system. According to the Social Welfare Act (Zakon o socijalnoj skrbi, NN 157/13, 152/14, 99/15, 52/16, 16/17, 130/17, 98/19, 64/20, 138/20), social welfare is an organized activity of public interest for the Republic of Croatia. The aim is to provide assistance to socially deprived persons, as well as persons in unfavourable personal or domestic circumstances, which include prevention, promotion of changes, assistance in fulfilment of basic living needs and support to individuals, families and groups for the purpose of improvement of the quality of life and empowerment of beneficiaries in independent fulfilment of basic living needs and their active inclusion in the society.
Rights in the social welfare system under this Act are: guaranteed minimum social assistance benefit, housing allowance, fuel allowance, personal needs allowance for a residential care beneficiary, one-time assistance, education-related allowances, personal disability allowance, assistance and care allowance, parent caregiver status or caregiver status, job-seeker benefit, social services and benefits for energy buyers at risk.
Social welfare users are:
- single persons or living in a household who do not have enough resources to meet basic living needs
- an orphan or without appropriate parental care, young adults, child victims of domestic, peer or other violence, child victim of trafficking, children with disabilities, children and young adults with behavioural problems, an unaccompanied minor who is outside his/her place of residence without parental supervision or other adult responsible for his/her care, and a child who is a foreign citizen found in the territory of the Republic of Croatia without parental supervision or other adult responsible for his/her care
- a pregnant woman or parent of a child younger than one year without family support and appropriate living conditions
- a family whose professional or other support is needed due to disturbed relationships or other unfavourable circumstance
- a disabled adult who is not able to meet the basic living needs
- an adult victim of domestic or other violence and a victim of human trafficking
- a person who, due to age or helplessness, cannot independently care about basic living needs
- a person dependent on alcohol, drugs, gambling and other forms of addiction
- other persons fulfilling the conditions prescribed by this Law
In the context of social inclusion, an important process implemented by the former Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy is deinstitutionalisation and transformation of homes for children and young people (Deinstitucionalizacija i transformacija domova za djecu i mlade). Children and young people placed in homes for children and young people without adequate parental care and homes for children and young people with behavioural problems (so-called accommodation as a form of institutional care) are provided with different forms of accommodation and care (non-institutional care) and their inclusion in community life. Also, the placement of children and young people without adequate parental care and children and young people with behavioural problems are prevented from placement in homes by providing non-institutional services and community support services (out-of-institutional care).
Parallel to deinstitutionalisation, the process of transformation of homes is carried out. Homes and other legal entities performing social welfare activities in the Republic of Croatia are encouraged to provide those non-institutional social services that are in line with the needs of community users and become ‘homes transformed into community service providers in all counties according to the needs of users’.
The main goal is to empower children's families, provide support in the development of parenting skills and enable the child to live in a family environment (primary, foster or adoptive family). By carrying out these processes, social, educational, cultural, material and other conditions for inclusion of users - children and young people without proper parental care and children and young people with behavioural problems in community life are created.
Everything about youth health care is described in details in the chapter 7. Health and Well-Being.
Within the system of education of awarding state scholarships, it is within the competence of the Ministry of Science and Education. One of the scholarship categories refers to socioeconomic status.
The Ordinance on the conditions and procedures regulating the right to state scholarships (Pravilnik o uvjetima i načinu ostvarivanja prava na državnu stipendiju na temelju socio-ekonomskoga statusa, NN 83/2018) defines 3 categories of scholarships:
1. D-1 – the students who are children of the killed, deceased and missing, under the circumstances laid down in articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Act on the Protection of Disabled Civil and Military War Victims, and children of peacetime disabled military and civil war victims whose disability occurred under the circumstances specified in the mentioned articles.
2. E – students of a low socio-economic status
3. P – students with disability and students without adequate parental care enrolled in postgraduate study programmes
A call for the award of scholarships for school/academic year 2018/2019 (Natječaj za dodjelu stipendija za školsku odnosno akademsku 2018/2019 godinu) announced by the Fund for scholarships of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans and Children of Croatian Homeland War Veterans is published by the Ministry of Croatian Veterans.
The right to a scholarship during full-time secondary education, a full-time university and professional study, as well as not awarding a part of compensation for tuition costs of postgraduate studies at the higher education institutions of this Fund may, under certain conditions, be eligible for the children of the mortally wounded Croatian war veterans from the Homeland War, the children of the detained or missing Croatian war veterans, children of Croatian war veterans from the Homeland War, war volunteers from the Homeland War.
According to the Act on ‘Croatia for Children Foundation’ (Zakon o zakladi 'Hrvatska za djecu', NN 82/15), whose founder is the Republic of Croatia, one of the supports of foundation relates to granting of scholarships to pupils and students during full-time schooling.
There is no particular quality assurance scheme in this field.