Gov’t unveils 13-measure package to support fire-affected communities

Gov’t unveils 13-measure package to support fire-affected communities

The Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance, Interior, and Labor, as well as the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (ADAE), has introduced a comprehensive package of thirteen measures aimed at providing support to households, businesses, and agricultural ventures affected by the recent wildfires.

One of the key measures is the housing assistance grant, which allows citizens and affected businesses to apply for the first housing assistance grant for damaged buildings through the platform. This grant will be available to owners of buildings categorized as “red” (dangerous for use) or “yellow” (temporarily unsuitable for use). The grant amounts to either €10,000 or €5,000, depending on the level of damage, and will be disbursed after necessary verifications and inspections.

Another significant measure is the housing assistance for building restoration. This program will identify damaged areas and provide housing assistance for building repairs and reconstruction. Property owners can benefit from an 80% government grant, accompanied by a 20% interest-free loan guaranteed by the Greek government. The assistance is limited to a maximum of 150 sq.m. per total property area, specifically for restoration purposes.

For individuals facing temporary housing issues, the rent subsidies or cohabitation support measure will offer financial assistance ranging from €300 to €500 to permanent residents whose homes were affected by the wildfires.

Furthermore, businesses and non-profit entities will receive the initial support for businesses grant, which is tailored to the extent of the damage they have incurred. Businesses with medium-range damage will be eligible for €2,000 in support, while those with significant damage to assets will receive a grant of €4,000.

Additionally, affected businesses, agricultural ventures, and non-profit organizations will be granted an advance payment equivalent to 20% of the estimated damage.

A final assistance program for businesses and agricultural ventures will subsequently cover part of the estimated damages, including machinery, raw materials, goods, and damaged vehicles, providing support beyond the initial assistance and advance payment.

Damaged households will not be left without help, as the compensation for immediate needs and furnishing measure will extend financial aid starting at €600 for immediate needs in the primary residence, with increased support for larger families and individuals with special needs. An additional financial assistance of up to €6,000 per household will be provided for repairing or replacing furnishings in the main affected residence.

To ease the burden during the recovery phase, the authorities have decided on a six-month suspension of tax obligations for areas declared in a state of emergency due to the wildfires. This applies to both businesses and affected individuals with outstanding and verified tax obligations.

Moreover, in designated emergency areas, the suspension of forced execution measures will ensure that any actions regarding movable or immovable property of those affected by the fires will be suspended for a period of six months.

Additionally, buildings and corresponding plots situated in emergency areas and categorized as dangerous or temporarily unsuitable for use may be granted a three-year ENFIA real estate tax exemption.

To provide support for employment, businesses impacted by the fires will have access to the regulation and suspension of social security contributions within the defined areas.

Lastly, to address damages to networks and infrastructure, an emergency funding for local government organizations (OTA) will be implemented in collaboration with relevant local authorities.

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