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Budapest Mayor gives keys to winners of 12-apartment tender , Source: budapest.hu

Budapest provides homeless residents with rental apartments

Budapest provides homeless residents with rental apartments

Many of those deprived of property can afford municipal housing at below-market-rate

For most of us this was the worst Christmas ever. But for 25 Budapest residents it was probably the happiest one.

Just before Christmas Eve, Mayor Gergely Karácsony personally handed over apartment keys to homeless people in the Hungarian capital who had successfully applied for rental housing in the 12-apartment tender, announced in November Budapest Municipality.

The opposition city government has always viewed the provision of affordable housing as a viable solution to homelessness. The coronavirus pandemic has made it even more urgent to provide independent housing for Budapest residents who currently live in often crowded homeless institutions. The housing tender was preceded by another measure in the spring of 2020, which allowed homeless people to move into 71 rental apartments in the capital.

Eligible applicants had to meet a number of criteria. They had to be residing in a night shelter or temporary accommodation for homeless persons in the administrative territory of Budapest, be (A) employed in a health care institution, a nursing home or a care home for the elderly, or (B) have a regular income, are self-sufficient, have reached the age of 65 for men or 55 for women and suffer from a chronic illness which poses a high health risk in case of a coronavirus infection.

Lower rents make housing affordable

Despite the short deadline, there were multiple applications for the right to move into the 12 apartments. This, according to the city government, comes to show that a large number of homeless people in Budapest can keep a rental apartment from their earnings or their pension provided that it is priced below the market rate.  

Each of the winning applications was accompanied by a recommendation written by a social worker. In addition to the 12-apartment tender, 5 more rental apartments were handed out on a fair basis, thus allowing a total of 25 homeless Budapest residents to move into an independent home in time for Christmas.

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