Press release 12th April

The housing policy work continues

Living and working cooperative Vestbredden Vell Vell (VVV) goes from organizing a tolerable squatting in Hausmannsgate 40 to managing a lease in the same place. It doesn’t change anything. Except for gaining the inhabitants legal status.

After a long and difficult negotiation period, Vestbredden Vell Vell has entered a lease agreement with Urbanium AS. Neither the negotiations nor the lease agreement change the cooperative’s purpose or political ambitions.

We have been negotiating with Urbanium and working with improvements of drafts since early 2017. The result is not a defeat, it is a victory. The relatively low rental cost gives VVV a long-awaited compensation for the extensive maintenance and rehabilitation work that the residents have put into the building since the start in 1999. Both the municipality and the property developer Urbanium, who now owns the majority of Hausmanns quarter, have thereby recognized the cooperative’s right to live in Hausmannsgate 40. That’s a great acknowledgment after decades of fierce opposition from the authorities and private actors, in the form of ignoring, repressing and sabotaging.

About the urban ecological project
VVV continues to be the only non-religious place in Oslo city center with affordable housing. The co-operation still is a collective that organizes housing for artists, homeless people and other financially disadvantaged people who wants to combine living with housing activism and having extensive responsibility for the maintenance of their own home. VVV continues to be an urban ecological project, a place with long-term knowledge of rehabilitation and housing organization based on urban ecological principles. The project is still a pilot project for social housing reform.
It is Vestbredden’s hope that their fight can be an inspiration for more people to have the opportunity to combine political engagement, artistic activity and cultural work with living cheap, keeping costs low with somewhat low standard and great practical and technical responsibility for their own residence.

The building has since 1999 given shelter and been a safe place for people who have an urgent need for a place to sleep. The guest room have been built to accommodate up to six people who need a temporary home when there are no other solutions.

About the fight and the struggle
Life in VVV has never been easy. On the contrary, living in Hausmannsgate 40 has been hard work every day since September 4th, 1999, when the first housing activists entered the house. It is enough to read the housemeeting book, which show in detail how the collective has continuously solved tasks and problems of practical, political and social nature. Being a builder and at the same time working to achieve legitimacy and getting political support as an urban ecological research project, has been a 20-year struggle.
It doesn’t stop now.

There is a screaming need to challenge today’s social housing policies with full force and weight. The capitalistic, privatized and brutalized housing market must be combated. Living safely, having heating on the stove and water from the crane is a human right which Living and working cooperative Vestbredden Vell Vell will fight for also in the years to come!