From: Alice Taylor
UNECE: “Urgent Need” for Albania to Find New Ways to Finance Affordable Housing

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has noted the “multiple challenges” that remain due to lack of public funds for housing construction and the inefficiency of some municipalities to implement housing programmes in Albania.

In a statement issued today, the UNECE said that while the national government has supported municipal programs and investments in the construction of affordable housing, there are still issues. They added that some housing has been provided through PPPs and legalising informal settlements. 

Unfortunately, what progress had been made was hampered by the 26 November earthquakes that left 2% of the population homeless.  The total damage caused by the quake is estimated at EUR 844 million with a reconstruction cost of EUR 1.07 billion. Most of this is needed to reconstruct homes while some are needed for schools and health centres.

UNECE noted that the COVID-19 pandemic further diminished budget resources for affordable housing. According to the Albanian Finance Ministry, lockdown cost the economy EUR 16 million in tax revenue.

The organisation said there is an “urgent need” to develop new ways to finance housing construction in the country.

According to the statement, Albania’s national housing strategy will be revised and its action plan updated. Local housing plans will also be drafted for three municipalities.

Following the workshop, UNECE will also provide support to Albania in promoting urban resilience through its United Nations Development Account project “Urban economic and financial recovery and resilience building in the time of COVID-19”. The project will be implemented not only in Albania but in several other countries in the UNECE region as well in 2020-2021.

Thousands of Albanians are still living in tents, temporary accommodation, or unsafe structures, more than 9 months after the earthquake.