Walloon public housing department in need of financial resources and calling for reform of social housing
Thursday, 11 June 2015
The Walloon public housing sector is facing a structural financing shortfall estimated at 140 million euros per year, which will eventually negatively impact its ability to pursue its work helping tenants in sometimes extremely precarious circumstances, denounced the Union of Walloon Towns and Municipalities (UVCW) on Wednesday. This problem may soon hinder the development of public housing stock in Wallonia when over 35,000 families are currently on the waiting list for social housing. One solution proposed by UVCW is to raise rents since the current rent caps in Wallonia hit treasuries of public service housing societies (SLSPs) with a shortfall of around 35 million euros per year. There are currently 64 SLSPs managing 101,500 homes.
Increasing the rent cap (even if it is a progressive increase) from 20 to 25% alone would reduce the shortfall to 8 million euros, representing an increase in rental income of 26 million euros. This increase would mean a 22.21 euro increase per month for tenants, not too high an increase for tenants that are already in a difficult situation. The average monthly rent in social housing currently sits at 244 euros.
Another idea would be to diversify the activities of SLSP (property development, leasing other than housing …) to provide other sources of income. The social housing sector is ready to get down to work but is nevertheless appealing to the minister for housing, Paul Furlan, to provide some form of regional intervention and a reform of social housing.