Tenants of public housing will soon be able to benefit from socialized rent

It was a point of the Brussels government agreement, finding a solution for 15,000 households among the 51,000 currently awaiting social housing. “In the government’s agreement, we say that we have to socialize public housing, but we don’t say how.” Secretary of State for Housing Nawal Ben Hamou (PS) may have found a lead. It announces indeed the “Socialization of the public housing stock” . Concretely, from the summer of 2022, people residing in moderate housing of a CPAS, the regional land management or in municipal housing, and who are both registered on a waiting list of the SLRB (Société du housing in the Brussels-Capital Region), will benefit from a rent equivalent to that of social housing.

In fact, a person living in the Brussels region today can apply for housing assistance through several channels. On the one hand, there is the SLRB, which offers housing where the rent does not exceed 24% of household income – we are talking about “social housing” here. On the other hand, through municipal housing, the CPAS and the regional land management, rents are set by the municipalities according to several criteria that they set themselves. As a result, you have people who pay a large rent while they have income and conditions for social housing. ” From the summer of 2022, people residing in CPAS, municipal or land management housing but eligible for social housing will only have to pay so-called “socialized” rents, either calculated as if they occupied a social housing.

12 million budget in 2024

The Brussels Region will be responsible for paying the difference to the municipalities, the CPAS or the regional land management. A budget of 5.4 million euros is planned to cover the 2,370 potentially socializable tenants. This budget will then amount to 6.5 million euros for the year 2023. The high point of this measure: 2024 and the inclusion of people not registered on the two lists. “It will simply be necessary to be in social conditions and to be a tenant of moderate housing in order for your housing to be socialized. We could reach a little more than 5,000 families by 2024, which is huge. It gives these families social justice and offers them a much cheaper rent than in the private sector. ” The budget then climbs to 12 million euros.

The classic, but effective and relevant example of the single mother is then invited to the table of Nawal Ben Hamou. “A single mother, who works 4 / 5th as a cleaning lady, she has 2 children and occupies a municipal apartment with 3 bedrooms. She earns € 1,000 / month. His accommodation is 100 m2 and the municipality applies a price per m2 of 6 €. She therefore pays rent of € 600 / month, or 60% of her income with 2 dependent children. If she is socialized, for the same accommodation, she will pay a rent of 210 to 240 € at most, a reduction of almost 400 €. ” The scenarios are numerous, but the aid would go, according to the examples given, from 28 to 620 euros reduction per household.

A well-oiled strategy with the municipalities

Currently, 176 tenants in Brussels already benefit from socialized rent. These are those located in the municipalities of Ixelles and Saint-Gilles, which acted as pilot municipalities for a budget of 330,000 euros. For their part, we speak of a “win-win” or “fall from the sky” measure.

The Secretary of State expects a similar story among the 17 remaining municipalities and is delighted with the good articulation between municipalities and the Region to carry out this project.

To see, next July, when this new measure will come into force definitively and will ease the waiting lists for social housing, which now have 50,000 registered households. What will be the other advances in housing? The work has started, but still long. “The government agreement provides for 15% social housing, for the moment, we are far from it” , concludes Nawal Ben Hamou.

Sylvain Anciaux

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