Social Housing Budget Lowered While More Families Need Aid

The 2018 budget reserved for social housing is insufficient to meet the need of the 61 municipalities in the country.

The 2018 draft budget that was approved yesterday in Parliament has reserved 550 million lekë for social housing, against 560 million lekë in 2016. At the same time, the number of families in need of social housing is expected to rise with at least 34 families in 2018. The Middle-Term Strategy for Housing, approved by the government in 2017, predicts that this increase continues in 2019 and 2020.

Social welfare experts, who declared before a parliamentary commission that the current budget “is quite low to have an impact on the groups that need housing,” suggested to increase the social housing budget by 260%, and broaden the category of families who can profit from the scheme.

The experts also point to the dissolution of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, which has produced legal inconsistencies in the law on social housing. They also decry the fragmentation of social welfare policy across different ministries, lowering their effectiveness:

The fund has been placed under the Ministry of Finance and Economy, while the urban planning has become the competence of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. This situation doesn’t show clearly which structures will manage the funds and implement the products envisioned in the housing program. It also remains unclear who will draft housing policies, legislation (the new law and bylaws), and who will realize the monitoring of the housing situation around the country.