Issues of concern in Housing Service

Feb 27, 2023 | Organisation & governance, Processes by-passed, Take over

The AVFO’s appointed ‘Housing Service’ has recently allocated a 200+ sqm family-sized house in Kalabhumi to a single Aurovilian, without following any community processes and for no financial contribution. Meanwhile, eviction emails have been sent to Aurovilians and a number of families with houses on the Outer Ring Road asking them  to “contact the illegally appointed ATDC house transfer sub-group… to find what possibilities are available for you transferring to another available residence within Auroville.” There is a shortage of houses suitable for families in Auroville, so it is not clear on what basis a single person could be allocated a house of this size.

An Aurovilian couple has shared the chain of events related to the ongoing transfer of their house that they are living in in Felicity. Despite the house transfer being almost completed when the AVFO took over Housing Service, the new group did not complete the process, instead choosing to ignore the list of applicants and place a family in the house who had not applied. One member of this family has familial links with a member of the AVFO’s ‘FAMC’, presenting a clear conflict of interest. The family is already housed, meaning that there is no urgency to rehouse them. After objections from the couple and the Felicity community, the transfer was placed on hold. To date, the transfer has still not been completed. There is also a second family house in Felicity stewarded by Housing Service, which has been left empty despite the ongoing housing crisis.

There have been other recent house transfers which lack transparency, with stewards assigned without any open community process. In one case, a house in Light was transferred to the same family who had previously been offered the house in Felicity mentioned above. As with the Kalabhumi house, the house was not at any time offered to the community as a whole, essentially meaning that it was passed ‘under the table’ without any transparency about how the decision to give it to them was made.