City officials have finally decided to take up the issue of social housing, as continuing rent deregulation amplifies the need for more small flats for those who can’t afford to pay the market rent.
Unless the Regional Development Ministry begins drafting a law that would lay down the rules for administering social flats, the city or MPs will take initiative, city councilor in charge of social and housing issues Jiří Janeček (ODS) says.
Janeček is also planning on setting up a committee to endorse the construction of coop apartments in the capital. “I’ll approach coops’ representatives, the Regional Development Ministry, city officials and the academic community. The goal is to set up a social housing system and to find a way to finance it,” Janeček told E15.
More than 70,000 people in Prague live in municipal flats; about the same number live in privately-owned flats. The city council is preparing for the scenario when more and more tenants—especially seniors—will have to move out into smaller flats due to market prices. One way of securing money for construction is through privatization. “We’re considering privatizing about 2,000 large flats during the first phase,” Janeček said.
In the past few years, the city council has substantially suppressed construction. The last time the city released money for new flats was in 2006. Now, officials are not only concerned about finding financial resources but also how to go about building housing projects.
An alternative to construction of coop flats is teaming up with developer companies through, for instance, PPP projects. Such contracts with the city could prove a much-welcome source of income for developers. “Sekyra Group would like to engage in PPP projects,” the developer’s media representative, Radek Polák, confirmed.
The fact that Sekyra Group’s activities are focused on extensive construction in luring locations, such as Rohanský ostrov, doesn’t change a thing.
Nonetheless, we won’t come across residential housing projects like the Linz-based Solar City in Prague in the coming few years. The reason is money. Even with EU subsidies, co-financing is still necessary. “We have to resolve the recovery of the housing fund for people affected by deregulation. That’s the priority right now,” Janeček emphasizes. Currently, EU funds are mostly used for implementing eco-friendly technologies for insulating houses and energy audits.
“Rather than engaging in a one-time project like the Solar City, it’s important to have am all-round concept of non-invasive construction,” project manager of environmental construction at Envi, Martin Csurilla, says. Low-energy houses and passive homes are still privately commissioned in the country.