Credit: MMB

City of Brno Will Extend Starter Apartments Scheme To Young Single People

The typical target groups for housing assistance programs from cities and municipalities are seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. In recent years, however, the number of socio-economically vulnerable young single and childless people who have no one to share housing costs with has been growing. In Brno, where the rents and sale prices of apartments are approaching those found in Prague, the municipality has decided to extend assistance to these groups, to help them settle here. They will therefore be able to apply for smaller starter apartments, where they can stay up to the age of 40.

Brno offers young people a lot of options, from varied and promising job opportunities to rich leisure activities, according to Karin Podivinská, deputy mayor for housing. “Nevertheless, many young people are moving outside of Brno because they cannot afford to live here,” she said. “We want to reverse this trend and have been supporting them in the form of starter housing for years. But it is time to realise that today’s generation of 20- and 30-somethings is far from being made up only of couples and families, but has a growing number of single people. There is no reason why the city should lose this economically strong group. I think that the council’s decision today is pioneering in the context of the Czech Republic and that it shows that the city is thinking about young people and understands their needs.” 

Until now, starter apartments have been used exclusively to house couples or families with children. There are currently 171 of them in the municipal housing fund (about 0.6% of all municipal apartments). Individuals will only be able to apply for smaller apartments with a floor area of ​​up to 40 m 2 . As with applicant couples, there is also an income range that an individual must meet: their net monthly income must not exceed the average gross wage and at the same time must not be less than half of it. Applicants who meet the conditions will then be drawn by lottery. The new lease will be concluded for three years with the possibility of repeated two-year extensions, until the tenant turns 40.

The policy of social housing is also changing

Until now, the city distinguished between two categories of social housing: with or without comprehensive social support. The category of social apartments without comprehensive social support essentially ceased following a decision of the council this week, affecting 75 tenants (out of a total of 297). 

“These people were assessed as not needing social support at the time of signing the rental contracts,” said Podivinská. “When extending the contracts, we will therefore change the status of their apartment from social to regular municipal. In the future, we intend to do the same for apartments with social support; as soon as the tenant stabilises and no longer needs social support, we will allow them to stay in the apartment as in a regular municipal apartment. At the same time, we guarantee that the number of social apartments with comprehensive social support will not fall below 200.”

The ‘social apartment’ status is designated to ordinary municipal apartments within the framework of various projects in which the city participates, such as Critical Time Intervention. According to Podivinská, these apartments are included in plans for the reconstruction or construction of apartment buildings in the city.

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