Rental subsidy just for 260,000 families


The promised plan to provide housing subsidies worth 600 million euros per year for households in distress has turned into a rental subsidy of just over 300 million, with the big losers being the owners who are striving to make ends meet so as to pay their mortgage.

The rental subsidy will range from 70 to 210 euros per household per month, depending on the size of the recipient family and various income and property criteria, for a total of 304 million euros throughout 2019. The original budget has been slashed in half, initially to avert cuts to pensions and now to find more cash to fund the subsidies for the protection of debtors’ primary residences.

The online platform for the submission of applications for the rental subsidy will likely open next week. It will concern a total of 259,631 households, or about one in five out of the total 1,103,875 households living in rented accommodation. Crucially, the subsidy will only be paid out for a total of 12 months.

According to Labor Ministry plans, the first installment of the handout will be paid in April, but will concern the first three months of the year retroactively.

Speaking at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras argued that “we still have to implement the major program for rental subsidy that constitutes the first organized effort for our country to obtain a cohesive housing policy in its history.”

In total, 667,074 citizens living in rented properties will enter the rental subsidy program, including the minors in each household. “A very important parameter is that, for the housing benefit, a child counts as an adult, both regarding the income criteria and the calculation of the handout,” said Tsipras.

The data processed by the team of Alternate Minister for Social Solidarity Theano Fotiou show that 45 percent of the people concerned belong to families with one or two children and single-parent families with two or three children.

Government planning for the creation of a single housing policy framework, which will operate in parallel with the new provisions for the protection of debtors’ primary residences, provides also for the program to subsidize loan tranches; this will have a total annual budget of 300 million euros and concern 180,000 households totaling 460,000 people.