This project addressed the poor quality of the support network and low level of awareness of legal issues on the part of tenants in cases of restitution of tenements in Kraków. The sole source of support for this group was the state system of free legal advice. This system was not suited to tenants’ needs, as it was limited in scope and there were no specialists on protection of tenants’ rights. There were no institutions in Kraków taking measures to improve tenants’ awareness of legal issues.
In the project, fourteen volunteers studying law at the Jagiellonian University attended training. The training provided new information and taught practical skills with regard to tenants’ rights and providing legal aid. Twelve volunteers then became more involved in active citizenship by providing pro bono legal advice in the project.
The support provided primarily benefited poor people residing in tenements subject to restitution in Kraków (under municipal management or acquired by private owners). A vast majority of people given legal advice were women aged 60+. Under the project, we provided tenants with free legal advice (240 hours), and lectures and workshops (24 hours). 102 people were given legal advice, and 40 tenants attended workshops and lectures. Due to the project, tenants earned more about current laws, their rights and obligations, resolving basic legal issues by themselves, and drafting correspondence and applications. We also created a website available to the public with a guide with information for tenants on the major legal issues concerning tenants’ rights.
The number of project participants confirms that the project addressed the major social problem of legal aid not being available. The project helped to make a group of tenants more aware of legal issues and more self-reliant in cases of restitution of tenements in Kraków.