The City Council of Sant Cugat intends to integrate all housing policies into a strategic plan with the aim of responding to social emergencies but also to the need for new housing in the city.
The Mayor of Sant Cugat, Mercè Conesa, presented on Tuesday the Strategic Plan for Housing 2015-2019, through which they intend to promote the necessary policies to continue responding to the social emergency that still exists but at the same time donor response to the need for new construction. Currently, the municipal government allocates 600,000 euros to these housing policies, a figure that it intends to double in the next four years. Conesa has been convinced that it will be possible to negotiate and reach agreements so that the budgets go ahead and thus be able to give vent to the lines marked by the plan.
One of the main measures of the plan is the creation of a Housing Observatory in order to analyze the supply, demand and problems that arise in the city and find a solution, as explained by the responsible for housing policies, Damià Calvet. The second most important point is the actions on the empty housing stock, creating a register of empty homes in the first place, identifying if they are from commercial companies or financial entities, and promoting agreements with these entities so that they offer them for social rent with prices of less than 300 euros.
On the other hand, the council also plans to open files to financial institutions that have empty houses and not occupy them and the initiation of fines of up to 250,000 euros in application of the Law of the right to housing. Calvet has highlighted that Sant Cugat has only 6.8% of the empty housing stock – some 2,000 -, 40% below the Catalan average and close to 5% on average in Europe.
The plan also contemplates the increase of aid for the payment of rent with the forecast that in 2015 it will reach 250,000 euros, 32,000 more than in 2014. In the area of aid, a social tariff will also be promoted in the supply of water and support will be managed for supplies for unemployed Social Services, the Agbar Foundation and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (CON). Currently, the Consistory allocates 450 grants for the payment of supplies.
At this point, Calvet recalled that part of the Consumer Code Law on eviction protection and energy poverty is provisionally suspended by the Constitutional Court but has asserted that the City of Sant Cugat “disobey” this suspension and will continue to deploy “to respond “to the needs of citizens.
Conesa has pointed out that one of the most important aspects is to avoid emergency situations and avoid the loss of housing. For this reason, the brokerage service for housing debts will be strengthened, which in its first year of operation has attended 160 consultations and processed 40 files.
More new homes
The plan also aims to increase the social fund of the house to face emergency situations, which currently is 33 homes. The objective is to continue expanding the fund with houses of the Housing Agency of Catalonia, the Social Fund of Housing and three privately owned. In this sense, a table of adjudication of social emergency housing will be created.
But beyond this aspect, the plan contemplates the construction of new housing. The mayor explained that the previous plan established the need to build 4,000 new homes in Sant Cugat, an aspect that this plan integrates. Conesa has assured that this time it will be possible to take forward new promotions because the economic conditions have changed and there is more confidence on the part of the financial entities.
including a promotion of 39 for elderly people on Avenida Rius i Taulet and 600 for general rental on Jeroni Pujades street and new officially protected flats will be built on property, such as the 78 of the Pla de Vinyet Avenue. Beyond that, other formulas are foreseen, such as the urban masovería, which already has a first experience in the process of implementation in the city. In this line, new formulas of temporary and shared ownership will be promoted, for example between young people and the elderly.
Finally, an inventory of multi-family buildings without lift and with architectural barriers will be created and technical advice will be offered to the communities to find solutions, as well as giving aid to install lifts or remove barriers. Calvet has highlighted in this point that the construction sector, after passing the shock of the economic crisis, has to be resized and placed but has indicated that it also offers many opportunities.