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Social Housing in Europe


Brussels, 27 March 2010 | Published in Research

What is social housing?

In Romania, the term social housing is officially defined as “public dwellings with subsidized lease, allocated to individuals or families whose financial position would not otherwise allow them access to tenements leased on the market”.

There are also other housing programmes aimed at fulfilling specific social needs likehousing for young people and young specialists, necessity housing for people who are evacuated from dwelling due to seismic risk etc. but they are not considered as social housing according to the legal definition.

The stock of social housing is entirely owned by local authorities and represents 2.3% of the national housing stock.

Who provides social housing?

The construction of social houses is a shared responsibility between the authorities of the local public administration and the central public administration. The requests for social housing are submitted to the authorities of the local public administration. This information is periodically centralized and sent to the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism in order to establish the total housing need and to plan the investments for social housing construction within the limits of the approved budget.

The authorities of the local public administration can also build social houses entirely from their own funds and they can buy houses from the free market and use them as social houses. The amount of public stock is very small, as mass privatization resulted in an increase in private housing from 67.3% in 1990 to over 90% in 1993, up to 96% today.

How is social housing financed?

Public housing is generally financed from local budgets and transfers from the state national budget through transfers to the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism budget. As the money allocated from the state budget doesn’t represent a big amount, the number of social dwellings built each year is low.

Who can access social housing?

According to the Housing Law, the families or persons with a monthly average net income per person below the overall national monthly average net income on total economy are entitled to social housing. Social housing units are allocated by the authorities of the local public administration according to their criteria, determined annually. The following categories of persons can benefit from social housing: persons and families evacuated or that are to be evacuated from the houses retroceded to the former owners; young people of maximum 35 years old; young people leaving social care institutions; disabled and handicapped; retired people; veterans and widows of war; beneficiaries of the provisions of the Law 341/2004 on the acknowledgement of the martyr heroes and warriors that contributed to the victory of the Romanian Revolution in December 1989, as well as of those who died or suffered from the anti-communist insurrection from Brasov in November 1987 and beneficiaries of the provisions of the Law no. 118/1990 regarding the rights for politically persecuted persons by the dictatorship since March 6th, 1945 as well as for the people deported abroad or prisoners.