A view of the central square in Svilengrad , Source: Bin im Garten on Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Social housing programme in Bulgaria offers tenants homes that do not yet exist

Social housing programme in Bulgaria offers tenants homes that do not yet exist

In Svilengrad's new housing strategy, local authorities will offer applicants approved architectural plans, permits and land, so they can build their own home

Today, the town of Svilengrad in Bulgaria announced their new social housing programme aimed at helping starter families and young professionals in the city. Local authorities will offer applicants municipal land and the opportunity to build their own homes.

Furthermore, they will provide all the necessary permits and architectural plans, so that construction can begin immediately after approval. Currently, there is space for 8 houses.

Mayor Anastas Karchev explained that the initiative was spurred on by a growing need to address the town’s demographic and housing problems. He sees this as a way to increase the supply and offer new development in the city, targeting specific social groups.

He continued by pointing out that if the initiative is successful, the city can scale it up to cover more people and territory.

The heart of the programme – housing needs

The whole social housing initiative is built around the idea that the city needs to find a way to provide housing options for the most vulnerable. This is why the applicants for the current initiative need to already be registered with the social authorities as people who lack proper housing.

According to a press release, the same condition would remain true if they were to scale up the programme, which they see as a tool to support the newly educated and starter families since they can fuel the local economy in the future.

The move is part of the city’s ‘Plan for Management of Municipal Property 2019-2023’ and it aims to not only help people that need housing but also find efficient use of the vacant municipal property. Furthermore, demographics also play a significant role in the decision making process.

Shrinking population

Bulgaria is one of the fastest shrinking nations in the world and the population has been in decline across the board. Svilengrad is no exception, as the town lost around 1,000 people between 2001 and 2011. The population at the beginning of the millennium was around 19,000 people, however, more recent estimates put it somewhere around 16,000.

Providing starter families and young professionals with housing could prove an effective strategy to remedy some of the longstanding issues driving people away from the city.



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