More than 1 in 10 people in Brussels waiting for social housing
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More than 1 in 10 people in Brussels waiting for social housing

Credit: Belga

As of 30 September, 49,135 households representing 128,270 people were registered on the Brussels Region’s waiting list for social housing, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort said on Friday.

That represents 10.5% of the population of Brussels. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, the Brussels Region has registered 886 new entries on the waiting list.

The Emergency Plan for Social Housing Policy will be deployed in 2021, Vervoort said as he read the general policy statement of his government for the coming year, adding that the plan is more essential than ever.

On the private rental market, only 25% of Brussels tenants manage to allocate a maximum of 30% of their budget to paying for their housing, Vervoort added.

Moreover, the cost of rent has risen by more than 20% since 2004, even though salaries have not risen as much. For the 20% of Brussels’ most precarious inhabitants, only 6% of lodging put up for rent are financially accessible to them.

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Vervoort confirmed that the Brussels Region will devote an additional sum of more than €425 million to housing during this legislature.

Of this money, more than €170 million will be devoted to the new policies provided for in the emergency housing plan.

These measures include speeding up the construction of new housing and stepping up the renovation of public housing stock, both to address environmental and health problems.

At the same time, other tools to address the current housing crisis need to be developed or continue to be activated. These various policies will either be simplified, reinforced or better supervised in order to increase their efficiency, Vervoort added.

It is thus a question of better supporting tenants who meet the conditions for access to social housing but who do not have access to it by reforming and amplifying the rent allowance, and of putting in place mechanisms to limit unjustified rent increases.

In addition, it is a question of regulating the growth of takeovers by social real estate agencies and reviewing the conditions of management in order to limit the exploitation of the system by very large landlords, and of working to reduce the number of unoccupied dwellings by listing them centrally.

There is also talk of stepping up the fight against discrimination in access to housing, which has been on the increase since the lockdown, by strengthening legislation and committing additional agents to investigate cases.

The Brussels Times

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