Wiener Wohnen’s Case Managament (Vienna)

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Wiener Wohnen’s Case Managament (Vienna)

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance Evictions

Main objectives of the project

Wiener Wohnen's goal is to offer affordable housing to low-income individuals, particularly vulnerable groups unable to secure private market housing. Yet, many social housing units suffer from non-payment or anti-social behavior. For this reason, Wiener Wohnen launched the Case Management service in 2017. This initiative employs social workers to assist tenants at risk of eviction due to financial or behavioral issues. Preventing evictions saves significant costs and reduces human suffering, with the program proving effective by contacting 85% of at-risk tenants and annulling 70% of potential evictions. This model not only supports tenants but also promotes social responsibility and sustainable practices, making it a replicable solution for other housing companies.

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Wiener Wohnen

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Austria, Vienna

Description

The goal of Wiener Wohnen, a public social housing company, is to offer affordable and adequate accommodation to low-income individuals. In municipal housing blocks, the proportion of people at risk of poverty, disadvantaged, or unemployed is generally much higher than in other housing forms. Wiener Wohnen pursues a “social allocation of accommodation” scheme for vulnerable individuals who cannot access affordable housing in the private market. Approximately 900 households are evicted from municipal housing each year due to non-payment of rent or anti-social behavior, affecting around 1,800 people annually. Analysis shows that many of those affected do not establish contact with Wiener Wohnen, either after receiving a court order or before eviction. Economically, each eviction costs the housing company at least €10,000 and causes immense human suffering. There are hidden costs for the local government related to caring for homeless people. Scientific findings indicate that eviction is particularly disastrous for children, with 350 minors affected each year. Losing their home, friends, and surroundings is a traumatic experience.

To address this, Wiener Wohnen launched their new Case Management service in March 2017. The aim is to prevent evictions through the intervention of social workers. This program organizes professional assistance for tenants in difficult circumstances, such as high rental arrears or signs of anti-social behavior due to mental health problems, substance abuse, dementia, or compulsive hoarding. This approach creates a "win-win situation" for all parties involved. Preventing evictions avoids human misery and the displacement of tenants, along with all associated negative effects. Additionally, it results in significant savings. For the City of Vienna, it also reduces costs since municipal housing is cheaper than providing accommodation in homeless shelters. Another objective is to increase public awareness of social responsibility and sustainability by creating a professional interface between housing companies and social organizations. Case Management helps maintain stable neighborhoods and reduces conflicts in municipal housing, occasionally leading to positive media coverage. Internally, the work of the Case Management team enriches corporate culture by bringing new skills and knowledge to the company, helping employees identify with the socially responsible company concept.

Wiener Wohnen is the only property management company in Vienna employing social workers to prevent evictions or assist people in difficult circumstances. Social workers have a significant and permanent role within the company, acting as an interface with all other relevant social stakeholders in Vienna. A unique qualitative catalogue of services was created for social workers to fill in for each case, allowing for an accurate description of specific services available for tenants and more professional case evaluations. Wiener Wohnen has developed its own software (database) for cases, compliant with GDPR. Due to its high quality, this database is already in demand by other municipal departments. Systematic data collection allows for the permanent optimization of internal procedures.

Case Management was successful in contacting 85% of tenants who had not reached out to Wiener Wohnen regarding an eviction notice. In about 70% of completed cases, the eviction was annulled because tenants had either paid their rent (33%) or entered into an installment agreement (36%). In about 26% of cases, tenants did not wish to cooperate with the social workers or could not be reached. Only 5% of completed cases resulted in evictions.

As a social municipal landlord, Wiener Wohnen benefits tenants by preventing evictions, human misery, and displacement while also saving unnecessary costs for the housing company and the City of Vienna. This service, which took 12 months to establish, is replicable in any socially responsible housing company.

Organisme de Foncier Solidaire de la Métropole Lilloise (OFSML)

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Organisme de Foncier Solidaire de la Métropole Lilloise (OFSML)

Mismatches Price Financing
Policies and regulations Local policies Regulation
Promotion and production Public promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

The Organisme de Foncier Solidaire (OFS) focuses on ensuring long-term housing affordability through an innovative lease model that separates land and property ownership. Established in Lille and approved by the State, the OFS acquires land and partners with developers to build affordable housing units. This model prevents land speculation, keeps housing costs low, and guarantees that homes remain affordable for future generations, thereby addressing housing needs for households with limited financial resources.

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • OFSML

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: France, Lille

Description

The City of Lille, with a population of 228,000, is the 10th largest city in France, comprising 138,000 housing units. Seventy percent of its residents are tenants, reflecting a tight housing market with a 25% turnover, a 5% real vacancy rate, and over 16,500 requests for social housing. Lille ranks as the 4th most expensive provincial city in the existing market (€3,130/m²) and the 3rd most expensive in the rental market (€13.9/m² in 2017). Despite this, Lille's median income is 17% lower than the national median. Housing prices in Lille tripled between 2000 and 2011. To address these challenges, the City of Lille set a goal of 10,000 new housing units from 2014 to 2020, with a focus on equal distribution of social and affordable housing. Various tools support this initiative, such as the Reserved Site for Housing (Emplacement Réservé pour le Logement – ERL), land action, and social diversity obligations (servitude de mixité sociale). Despite anti-speculation clauses, affordable housing is not permanently socially-oriented, as original buyers can sell back to the free market. Consequently, Lille has been exploring new models for securing permanently affordable homeownership.

The "Organisme de Foncier Solidaire" (OFS) is a non-profit organization, approved by the State on July 20, 2017, designed to tackle these housing issues. Lille's OFS, the first in France, operates on a metropolitan scale, acquiring and managing land to support the construction of housing for households struggling to find decent housing. This model neutralizes land costs over time, reducing housing costs and increasing affordability. The OFS grants a lease known as “Bail Réel Solidaire” (BRS), which only OFS can use. While the OFS does not directly build housing, developers do so under BRS conditions: resource thresholds, sale price limits, principal residence requirements, and appropriate housing size for household size. The BRS is valid for 19 to 99 years and can be renewed upon ownership changes.

The OFSML is the first OFS approved by the State, aiming to introduce a new ownership approach that treats land as a common good, ensuring permanent affordability and better use of public funds. The model also secures households with the BRS lease. Projects under the OFSML, like the Cosmopole project (developer: Finapar), follow the Community Land Trust (CLT) model, separating land ownership from building ownership. The process for the Cosmopole project includes several steps:

1. The City of Lille owns the land.
2. An agreement between the OFSML and the City of Lille is made to develop OFS/BRS housing.
3. The City of Lille issues a call for tenders and sells the land to the selected developer.
4. The developer sells the land to the OFSML for €1 (equivalent to 15 OFS housing units) and signs an initial BRS with the OFSML, paying a monthly fee of €1/m².
5. The developer constructs and sells OFS/BRS housing while adhering to criteria set by the OFSML. Buyers must be approved by the OFSML.
6. Approved buyers sign a VEFA-type reservation with the developer and a User BRS with the OFSML.
7. The household becomes the building owner and land tenant (paying a monthly fee of €1/m²).
8. If the owner sells the housing, the selling price is regulated, and the new buyer must meet the same conditions: resource thresholds, principal residence, and appropriate housing size. 9. The BRS is then renewed for another 99 years.

The first OFS housing project in Lille enabled middle-class households to access housing in city centers and neighborhoods typically inhabited by affluent residents. The OFSML successfully reached its target audience through press articles and the municipal paper explaining the OFSML model. Additionally, the OFSML launched a website to expand its reach further.

The housing offered by the OFSML is very affordable, priced at €2,110 per square meter (including VAT) without parking. These prices align with the local definition of social homeownership, aimed at people with modest resources. In the first project, half of the buyers transitioned from social rental housing. The project's prime location near various urban services enhances its attractiveness and keeps the land affordable over time, combating land speculation.

Despite these successes, the OFSML faces challenges such as uncertainty regarding bank mobilization. It is exploring different legal systems to better align with its model and activities while seeking metropolitan-level opportunities.

The OFS model has garnered significant interest in France. In November 2018, the City of Lille hosted a two-day event for French OFS organizations and established the French OFS network "Foncier Solidaire France," supported by the French government. This network aims to facilitate member exchanges, address challenges, gather proposals, and forward recommendations at the national level.

Zuhause Ankommen, combatting homelessness in response to the covid-19 pandemic

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Zuhause Ankommen, combatting homelessness in response to the covid-19 pandemic

Mismatches Vulnerable groups Pandemics
Policies and regulations National policies Evaluation and impact
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships

Main objectives of the project

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, addressing immediate needs and enacting lasting solutions to societal challenges can be concurrent endeavors. 'Zuhause ankommen'—German for 'arriving home'—addresses the exacerbated housing issues during the pandemic while concurrently implementing a sustainable strategy to eradicate homelessness. From May 2021 to April 2022, the initiative allocated 240 apartments to accommodate 600 individuals lacking access to affordable housing across five regions in Austria. Financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection with €2.65 million, the project primarily targeted those severely impacted by the socio-economic consequences of Covid-19 measures, notably homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness. 'Zuhause ankommen' establishes a diverse coalition of stakeholders committed to effectively addressing the complex issue of homelessness in a sustainable manner. By amplifying the Housing First approach to a national scale, the project currently operates through a supra-regional strategy with the objective of raising awareness about homelessness and providing tangible solutions.

Date

  • 2021: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • GBV
  • BAWO
  • ustrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Austria

Description

The COVID-19 was a tough blow for the most vulnerable people. Despite the adminsitriave efforts, in many countries there was a rise in homelessness. This was also the risk in Austria. While subsidies on rent were provided by the Austrian government in 2020, experts including BAWO, the Austrian National Platform of Social Services Provided for the Homeless predicted a rise in poverty, evictions, and homelessness during the pandemic. On the other hand, limited-profit housing associations play a crucial role in fostering housing inclusion through affordable rents and their social mandate. Nonetheless, within this segment, the most vulnerable groups encounter structural challenges, particularly concerning upfront contributions from potential tenants, often unaffordable for those near or below the poverty line. So, there was a threat that they could not able to provide the needed help during the pandemic.

"Zuhause Ankommen" wanted to prevend all this. It serves as a model, addressing both immediate pandemic-induced homelessness and long-term homelessness. This initiative integrates the Austrian limited-profit housing sector, represented by GBV, with the social service sector, represented by BAWO. Collaborating member organizations allocate flats and offer social care, with project expenses funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care, and Consumer Protection.

The project budget covers tenants' upfront contributions, moving expenses, and professional social support, facilitating access for those affected by poverty. Moreover, social organizations assist with home matching and provide support upon arrival, promoting self-sufficiency and independence. The project, closely monitored for fair access regarding age and gender, has allocated 240 flats to people affected by poverty and homelessness. Its success has led to more housing associations joining, furthering the adoption of the Housing First principle to end homelessness sustainably and promote reintegration. Presently, 38 housing associations participate.

Tenants and landlords benefit from tools developed in collaboration with social service organizations, ensuring stable tenancies. "Zuhause Ankommen" offers evidence of innovative housing solutions across Austrian regions, catering to diverse needs in rural and urban areas. Employing Housing First as an innovative method within homeless services, the initiative prioritizes housing as a starting point, offering stability to the most vulnerable.

The strategic communication of the project seek to change how the public views homelessness and the innovative solutions offered by "zuhause ankommen." Utilizing various channels such as social media, digital platforms, print media, and press coverage, the project's achievements and core messages are disseminated to stakeholders, interest groups, policymakers, and the general public.

The project's participatory approach focuses on matching suitable and affordable housing with potential tenants, fostering social inclusion, mixed communities, and stable tenancies. An evaluation process involving workshops and interviews with stakeholders and beneficiaries ensures ongoing improvement, with results informing future efforts against homelessness. By building knowledge and trust between the limited-profit housing sector and the social service sector, "Zuhause Ankommen" exemplifies a strategic, sustainable strategy to combat homelessness, earning recognition such as the European Responsible Housing Award 2022.

Aid for first refusal and withdrawal and to social entities for social renting (Catalonia, Spain)

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Aid for first refusal and withdrawal and to social entities for social renting (Catalonia, Spain)

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations National policies Regulation
Financing Public funding Supply subsidies

Main objectives of the project

The housing crisis in Catalonia has led to the implementation of strategies such as the right of first refusal, which allows the public administration to intervene in real estate transactions to ensure the availability of social housing. To overcome financial constraints, the Catalan Credit Institute offers financial aid to social entities and the administration to facilitate the direct purchase or exercise of this right. These measures seek to expand the social housing market and guarantee favorable conditions for tenants in the long term.

Date

  • 2018: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Institut Català de Finances (ICF)

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

Catalonia, one of the territories most affected by housing market tensions, especially after the 2008 financial crisis, has faced a considerable challenge in this area. Following the collapse of the private market and the historic increase in rental prices, the Catalan authorities have implemented various strategies to ensure the availability of social housing for its citizens. Among these strategies is the right of first refusal and withdrawal, established in the 2007 Housing Law, as well as collaboration with civil society organizations.

The right of first refusal allows the public administration to intervene in real estate transactions between private parties, acquiring the property in lieu of a third party, either before or after the transaction, at the same price agreed upon by the private parties. However, the obligation to acquire at the same price may limit the financial capacity of many administrations to exercise this right. To address this limitation, the Catalan Credit Institute (ICF, in catalan) has launched a program of grants for pre-emptive rights of first refusal and withdrawal. In addition, the same aids are extended to third sector entities that collaborate with the administration in the direct purchase or in the first refusal for social housing.

These aids are designed to facilitate the direct purchase or the exercise of the right of first refusal by social entities and the public administration. In exchange, these entities may receive an amount ranging from €25,000 to €10 million, with a maximum of €90,000 per housing unit. However, the property acquired through these subsidies is of a temporary nature, limited to a term of 75 years for these entities. This period, considered sufficient to repay the loan, allows for investments in profitable housing. In addition, these homes are usually destined for social renting, offering below-market rates and favorable conditions for tenants. At the end of the 75-year period, the property becomes public property.

Both city councils and companies dedicated to the promotion of public housing can also access this aid under the same conditions as the entities. Thus, this measure aims to involve all relevant actors in the acquisition and use of all available legal resources to promote social housing, without being limited by economic constraints. Ultimately, this initiative has the potential to expand the social housing market both now and in the future.

DC Flex, Washington DC

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DC Flex, Washington DC

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact Evictions
Financing Public funding Demand subsidies
Ownership and tenure Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

The housing crisis in the US, particularly affecting Washington DC, prompted the introduction of the DC Flexible Rent Subsidy Program (DC Flex) in 2017, aiming to assist middle-class individuals and low-income families facing delays in traditional housing assistance. Unlike existing programs like housing choice vouchers (HCVs) and rapid rehousing (RRH), DC Flex offers fixed subsidies to extremely low-income households, providing flexibility in rent payments and serving as a financial safety net for those living paycheck to paycheck. A study conducted after its first year of implementation revealed positive outcomes, with the program effectively maintaining housing stability and reducing homelessness rates among participants to just 1.8%. This measure do not only offer good results, but it is a good practice of governance with NGOs and of simplification of administrative burden.

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • District of Columbia Council

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: United States of America, Washington D.C.

Description

The housing crisis gripping the United States has put immense pressure on Washington DC's housing market. Despite traditional and federal subsidies, the District of Columbia found itself grappling with a complex situation, particularly in aiding middle-class individuals. While many low-income families qualify for housing choice vouchers (HCVs), the lengthy waiting lists often delay assistance. Rapid rehousing (RRH) programs offer short-term rental subsidies, but their long-term effectiveness is uncertain. To bridge this gap, the DC Flexible Rent Subsidy Program (DC Flex) was introduced in 2017 as a four-year pilot initiative, funded by a $5 million appropriation from the District of Columbia Council and supported by Mayor Muriel Bowser.

DC Flex targets extremely low-income households, comprising those earning up to 30 percent of the area median income, with at least one employed adult and children. Participants must have recently sought emergency or temporary housing assistance and reside in a legal rental unit within the city. The program aims to prevent eviction for families living paycheck to paycheck. Each household enrolled in DC Flex receives a checking account and an escrow account containing the full $7,200 subsidy balance. This subsidy can only be used for rent payments, with participants granted flexibility in allocating funds. In other words, each month they can choose how much money of the fund they use to pay the rent. Capital Area Asset Builders, a District-based financial education nonprofit, manages the program, transferring funds from the escrow account to the checking account monthly to cover rent expenses. Unlike HCVs, DC Flex subsidies remain fixed regardless of changes in income or household size, serving as a financial safety net for low-income families facing income disruptions.

A study conducted after the first year of implementation found that DC Flex was successfully launched and managed. The Urban Institute, responsible for the assessment, recommends DC Flex as a viable alternative to existing housing services based on initial findings. Focus groups highlighted the program's role in maintaining housing stability, particularly for families ineligible for other subsidy programs or exiting RRH. Over time, program adjustments have extended the eligibility period to five years and increased the subsidy amount to over $8,000. However, once participants' earnings exceed 40% of the Area Median Income, their benefits cease. Notably, upon program completion, families gain unconditional access to any remaining funds in their account, effectively transforming it into a Basic Income. With only 1.8% of participants experiencing homelessness after exiting the program, DC Flex demonstrates promising outcomes compared to control groups.

Aalborg East - from an isolated vulnerable area to an inclusive community

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Aalborg East - from an isolated vulnerable area to an inclusive community

Policies and regulations Local policies Land Building capacity Public-private initiatives Participatory processes
Urban Design Urban fabrics Liveability Inclusion Public-private initiative Participatory processes
Ownership and tenure Protection of social housing Public-private partnerships

Main objectives of the project

An isolated an deprived residential area in Denmark's fourth-largest city had, since its construction in the 1960s and 70s, experienced increasing decline and negative spiral. Now, Aalborg East is a mixed community, with a vivid atmosphere and centered on the well-being of its citizens. It has become a story of success in social housing policies in Europe.

Date

  • 2011: Construction
  • 2023: Ganador

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Aalborg Municipality
  • Constructor: Himmerland Boligforening

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Denmark

Description

Aalborg East, originally established as a satellite city in the 1970s, faced significant challenges over the past years, characterized by deteriorating old buildings, primarily comprised of social housing, and a declining economy leading to escalating issues of unemployment and crime. Recognizing the urgent need for intervention, a comprehensive urban transformation initiative was launched, encompassing the renovation of over 2,000 affordable homes. This ambitious endeavor was guided by two fundamental principles: the promotion of a diverse community and the active engagement of local residents throughout the process. Thus, homes were renovated, new shops were added, private homes were built and several social initiatives were adopted. Residents sat at the table as urban planners, so no homes have been demolished, and no residents have been displaced.
The whole process has been vastly affected by tenant democracy. There were building committees consisting of tenants, and every major decision was made at attendant meetings. Strong and strategic partnerships with both the public and private sector were also central because a housing association cannot do it all by themselves. For example, construction fields have been sold to private investors to densify some areas with freestanding house blocks and to diversify the economy.
In conclusion, the renovations were completed by using a variety of building types, appealing to a wider residential composition. Moreover, new infraestructure was put in place to foster the new mixed community. For instance, a new health house was built where training courses are in place, which makes the area more visible for people who would not visit Aalborg East daily. It is fair to say that the Danish social housing provider Himmerland Boligforening went further than usual, leading the way in Europe on how to integrate social housing tenants in the strategic city development as well as making them active city planners. The results are astonishing. Now Aalborg East is an area of well-being with safe areas, no crime, and great economic growth.
In 2023, the project won the NEB awards in “Prioritising the places and people that need it the most”.

RENOLUTION and IRISbox online one-stop-shop solutions to vacant buildings, Brussels-Capital Region

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RENOLUTION and IRISbox online one-stop-shop solutions to vacant buildings, Brussels-Capital Region

Mismatches Functional adequacy Vacant housing
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance

Main objectives of the project

In Brussels, leaving a residential property vacant for over 12 months is illegal, with hefty fines enforced by dedicated units. To encourage property utilization, measures like involving Social Rental Agencies and providing renovation grants have been introduced. However, accessing support was challenging due to numerous programs. To simplify, all schemes were consolidated under RENOLUTION, linked to IRISbox, easing identification and application processes. These efforts reduce complexity and administrative burdens, motivating owners to refurbish and occupy their vacant properties.

Date

Stakeholders

  • Brussels-Capital Region

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Belgium, Brussels

Description

In the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium, leaving a residential property vacant for over 12 months is against the law and can lead to significant fines. Dedicated units within the Region focus on identifying and prosecuting owners of such properties. However, this process can be time-consuming and costly. To address this, alternative measures have been introduced to encourage property owners to utilize their vacant properties. One option is to entrust the management of the property to a Social Rental Agency (SRA), providing housing for low-income households. Another approach is to offer special home renovation grants, especially beneficial for properties that don't meet decent standards.

Over time, the number of available grants and public supports for renovation and maintenance has increased, resulting in difficulty for property owners, including public housing providers, in identifying and accessing assistance opportunities. To streamline this process, two significant actions were taken. Firstly, all available schemes were consolidated under one umbrella called RENOLUTION. This centralized platform offers a clear, searchable catalog of support schemes along with administrative support services. Secondly, RENOLUTION was linked to IRISbox, the Brussels Region's online platform for public assistance programs. Through IRISbox, users can easily identify available schemes and swiftly submit applications for support.

These initiatives have significantly reduced the complexity and administrative burden associated with accessing public supports for renovation and building improvement activities. For owners of vacant properties, this streamlined approach could make a substantial difference in facilitating the necessary improvements to bring their properties back into use.

Right of Public Administration for vacant dwellings, Brussels-Capital Region

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Right of Public Administration for vacant dwellings, Brussels-Capital Region

Mismatches Vulnerable groups Vacant housing
Policies and regulations Local policies Regulation Global frameworks
Ownership and tenure

Main objectives of the project

Since 2003, Brussels have the "Right of Public Administration". This allows municipal authorities to manage and renovate vacant private properties, renting them out at reduced rates. Reforms in 2022 aimed to enhance this system, requiring owners to reimburse costs and ensure affordable rent for low-income households.

Date

  • 2003: Implementation
  • 2022: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Brussels-Capital Region

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Belgium, Brussels

Description

Brussels is taking the problem of vacant housing seriously. In Brussels, leaving a residential property vacant for over 12 months is illegal, with hefty fines enforced by dedicated units. They also do have incentives for refurbishment by the private, such as RENOLUTION. Yet, since 2003, legislation in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium has granted the "Right of Public Administration" (Le droit de gestion publique) for vacant dwellings. This grants municipal authorities the authority to temporarily assume management of unoccupied or dilapidated housing, facilitating renovation if necessary, and subsequently renting it out at a reduced below-market rate for a nine-year period. All associated costs are covered through the rent collected. This right can be exercised voluntarily with the property owner's agreement or forcibly if the owner fails to take steps to restore the property.

In 2022, the Regional Parliament undertook reforms to the Right of Public Administration system. The aim was to rejuvenate the program, clarify certain aspects, and bolster others. Changes include stipulations that the property owner can reclaim the property from the municipality or the current managing entity only after fully reimbursing all incurred costs associated with bringing the property back into use and its subsequent management. Moreover, owners must commit to charging rent in line with the sub-market rates set by the municipality and make the property available exclusively to eligible low-income households. Regardless of the managing entity, the below-market rent is fixed for nine years following the initiation of the Right of Public Administration.

Nevertheless, the utilization of the Right has been infrequent by public authorities in the Region, at least until recently. This is partly due to the lengthy requisition process, as owners typically rehabilitate the property before reaching the stage where municipal control would be enacted. Thus, it could be inferred that the perceived credible threat of action is adequate in achieving the desired outcome of reducing the quantity of vacant homes.

Haiti Home Ownership And Mortgage Expansion (Home) Program

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Haiti Home Ownership And Mortgage Expansion (Home) Program

Mismatches Financing Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations National policies Global frameworks Public-private initiatives
Financing Financial actors Discriminaciones Financieras Mortgage systems Supply subsidies Demand subsidies Progressive financing

Main objectives of the project

In contrast to a straightforward housing subsidy, a rewards system necessitates meeting predefined quality, efficiency, and accountability criteria before funding is allocated, both on the supply and demand sides. Linking financial incentives to particular outcomes ensures that capacity building aligns with a shift in behaviors and operational methods. This is the model HOME has implemented in Haiti. In a extreme situation of housing crisis, this system has been applied to either supply and demand sites of the market. The goal: to provide affordable houses to a middle and low class.

Date

  • 2015: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • USAID
  • Haitian government
  • Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI)
  • Affordable Housing Institute (AHI) of Haiti
  • IDB Invest

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: Haiti

Description

Haiti faces a significant housing deficit, estimated at 500,000 units, which accounts for nearly 25% of the nation's total housing stock for a population of 10 million. This disparity underscores the inaccessibility of formal housing for the majority of Haitians, especially considering the average house price in Port-au-Prince is USD 250,000, while the average annual wage remains below USD 800. Moreover, access to home financing is severely limited, with only about 400 mortgages available countrywide. The formal real estate market in Haiti has predominantly catered to high-income housing, leaving the middle class underserved, as developers and financial institutions perceive them as high-risk.

In response to this pressing need, the US Agency for International Development-funded HOME program has been initiated as a three-year endeavor aimed at capacity building within Haiti's private sector. Its primary objective is to facilitate the financing and construction of affordable housing and infrastructure. HOME operates on both the supply and demand sides of the housing economic value chain, collaborating with Haitian companies to incentivize affordable housing projects.

On the supply side, HOME partners with real estate developers and landowners to support affordable and market-driven housing initiatives. By employing pay-for-performance mechanisms, HOME encourages developers to target low-income households, minimize risks, expedite construction, and lower home prices. Additionally, to ensure adherence to high environmental standards, HOME has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to enable developers to obtain EDGE certification. These partnerships offer incentives to offset the additional investment required for ecological building standards, thus preventing price escalation for buyers.

Concurrently, on the demand side, HOME collaborates with financial institutions to address barriers to housing access in Haiti. The program advocates for larger banks to expand their mortgage portfolios and extend services to lower income segments. It also supports smaller institutions through technical assistance to enhance credit underwriting procedures, sales force training, and monitoring, thereby facilitating portfolio growth. Financial institutions are incentivized through pay-for-performance structures to expand their portfolios while maintaining low portfolio at risk (PAR) levels and increasing participation of households headed by women.

Haiti HOME has begun to invigorate the real estate market and empower local stakeholders to continue building and financing affordable homes beyond the program's duration. The program has already trained three local developers to target the lower-middle class, with three construction sites underway and two already receiving preliminary EDGE Green Building certification. Real estate developers have mobilized over USD 10 million of their own capital, a significant investment for the Haitian sector. HOME persists in collaborating with these developers to design larger projects to meet the needs of the Haitian population.

In terms of the demand side, HOME works with banks and credit cooperatives to enhance access to home financing, particularly for informal homes, having already mobilized over USD 6 million in mortgages and other home loans, benefiting more than 700 families.

Central to HOME's success is its program model, which focuses on incentivizing existing actors through a pay-for-performance approach on both the supply and demand sides of the housing market. Rather than imposing predetermined solutions or relying on traditional direct financing models, HOME rewards specific outcomes for financial institutions and developers through its HOME Facility fund. This approach encourages contractors to innovate in risk mitigation, organizational efficiency, and human resource development to foster affordable housing solutions in Haiti.

Johannesburg Housing Company

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Johannesburg Housing Company

Mismatches Location
Policies and regulations Local policies Public-private initiatives
Financing Supply subsidies
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Private promotion Favelas/Slums

Main objectives of the project

When addressing informal settlements and the relocation of their residents, the common solution often involves outskirts due to their affordability. Typically, a large proportion of slum dwellers gravitate towards the outskirts of cities. However, Johannesburg has adopted a different approach. In efforts to rejuvenate its downtown area, the city has embraced an alternative strategy. Through the utilization of a non-profit institution, Johannesburg has implemented social housing initiatives within its city center. By repurposing abandoned or deteriorating buildings, the city has not only revitalized its downtown core but also provided much-needed social housing options.

Date

  • 1995: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • SHRA
  • Promotor: JHC

Location

Continent: Africa
Country/Region: Johannesburg, South Africa

Description

In South Africa, a significant portion of tenants reside in informal settlements, with over 400,000 housing units constructed on unauthorized land lacking basic services and vulnerable to environmental hazards like floods and fires. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of shacks erected in the backyards of existing dwellings surged by 55%, totaling more than 700,000 units. Despite the existence of the Social Housing Policy since 1994, the establishment of the regulatory authority (SHRA) in 2010 marked notable progress. The Minister of Human Settlements pledged the delivery of 1.5 million new housing opportunities by 2019.

Social housing projects are financed through a blend of government funds, debt, and up to 10% from for-profit private capital. The national government, via the SHRA, subsidizes up to 65% of capital costs and allows subsidized units for tenants meeting specific monthly family income thresholds. These subsidized units must constitute between 30% and 70% of all mixed projects.

Investment opportunities include the Social Housing Institution (SHI) model, where non-profit entities or owners undertake projects inclusive of social housing. Currently, around 83 SHIs have been established, delivering approximately 33,000 units nationwide. However, while the number of institutions is on the rise, the rate of unit development hasn't matched, leading to financial challenges for many. Only six out of the 83 institutions are financially stable, with an additional 25 potentially viable.

In Johannesburg, two SHIs have demonstrated remarkable success. One such entity is the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC), founded in 1995, which has pioneered an innovative affordable housing model with efficient building management and exemplary customer service. It has facilitated the development of over 4,293 rental housing units, providing homes for more than 19,478 individuals. JHC's efforts have played a pivotal role in revitalizing downtown Johannesburg, transforming dilapidated or abandoned buildings into modern architecture units. The company utilizes two components of the rental housing policy: urban restructuring zones declaration and the Inner City Property Scheme (ICPS), formerly known as the Bad Building Program.

Initial funding provided to JHC enabled it to establish a solid capital base necessary for large-scale social housing development in the downtown area. By the late 2000s, JHC had a portfolio comprising nine renovated buildings and two new construction projects. The organization's cost management strategy ensures each building covers its operating costs, including interest on operating income.

Contrary to traditional urban regeneration strategies focused solely on economic growth, JHC's approach emphasizes building improvements, renovations, and new constructions to increase the city's housing stock by approximately 10% while rejuvenating rundown structures to provide affordable rents and decent housing. However, the future of social rental housing faces challenges, particularly regarding the diminishing availability of affordable land in restructuring zones.