Social housing

The building of social housing in Bulgaria could begin as early as the end of next year - these are the plans of the Ministry of Investment Planning. Currently the ministry is developing legislation, expected to be ready by the end of the year. If the legislation is passed and the funds are granted the construction works could began in the end of 2015.

The idea is to accommodate in this social housing people that can't afford to pay full market value rent or to buy a home of their own. They will be available for young people, adults, disabled and families with low income. They will be available also for working representatives of minorities, who can afford to pay rent or user fee. That would help the integration process.

An option is now in consideration for the municipalities to present land for the building sites without compensation. The municipalities will be free to choose the sites and the expectance is that they will be cheaper and less attractive. 

The state could also participate with land. Another option is low interest credits for 30 years - a matter of negotiations with the banks. This will be possible because of the ensured income for the construction companies.

In Western Europe there is a considerable interest for social housing from the pension funds and that would be a great option for Bulgarian pension funds too.

There will be social housing across the country and not only in the capital or in growing cities. That will provide an opportunity to fight the demographic crisis and poverty in some regions. There is an option to transform already build buildings, currently not used in to social housing.

Granting of social housing will be in two ways - lower than the market value rent and buying on lease for a long period of time (30 years or a lifetime) so it will be affordable for the poor.

Who will have the right to use social housing? That will be evaluated according to different criteria. The main one will be the income in case of no income at all there will be a mechanism of state aid.

Experts from the Ministry of investment planning are examining the good practices in Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, USA and Turkey.