Government to provide €2.3Bn for affordable housing
The Portuguese Government is to set aside €2.3Bn of public money for affordable housing for rent.
The project will use around 18,660 properties that are currently empty, according to the newspaper Público which also reports that the project is still being worked on and will need the green light from the Council of Ministers which could be given either tomorrow or next week.
If confirmed, the Government will charge the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation (IHRU) with the task of creating a portfolio of properties which will be set aside for the Affordable Rent Programme.
To date, 18,660 properties that are currently vacant, have been identified, of which 20% will be handed over to local councils while the others will be handed over to community and public-private housing associations.
According to the newspaper, the list of properties to be turned into affordable housing is extensive and includes all kinds of properties, from abandoned palaces and mansions, old convents, town houses, plots of land, farmhouse estates, apartments and blocks of apartments, among others. There is, for example, on the provisional list, the former headquarters of the University of the Algarve’s Academic Association at Gambelas, Faro; the former Afonso Domingues Secondary School in Lisbon; the building that once housed the Coimbra children’s hospital, the old Magalhães Lemos psychiatric hospital in Vila do Conde.
With the aim of reinforcing the Government and local authority stock of public housing, the State expects to directly invest around €1.7Bn in this property pool fund, to which it will add a further €600 million via municipal councils and other associations. The total public investment in this programme could easily reach €2.3Bn.
This housing fund will be an important boost to the State’s Affordable Housing Programme which was launched in July 2019 to complement an increase in public housing offer as was explained at the time by the Secretary of State for Housing, Ana Pinho.
Although for its initial plans the Government was counting on wide support and involvement from private entities, at the end of June, exactly one year after its launch, the programme only had 242 contracts signed, a number that fell well short of expectations, with the minister admitting there was still a long way to go and work ahead to achieve the Government’s goals.