ROUNDUP: Alliance complains about ‘dramatic lack’ of social housing

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – An alliance of tenants’ associations, construction unions and social and industry associations sees a “dramatic lack” of social housing in Germany. The specific figures – also for the individual federal states – are to be presented this Tuesday (10.30 a.m.) at an online press conference in Berlin. The basis for this is a study by the Pestel Institute in Hanover.

The number of social housing is falling

It is known that the number of social housing units in Germany has been decreasing for years. While there were still almost four million social housing units in the old Federal Republic, in 2010 there were around 1.66 million and at the end of 2022 there were still around 1.088 million such apartments. This emerged from a federal government response published last summer to a parliamentary question from the Left.

Traffic light coalition misses housing construction target

Rents for social housing are regulated by the state. Only people who the authorities see as having special needs because they have low incomes are allowed to live there. After a certain period of time, the apartments can be rented out normally on the market, which is why the number of social housing units has steadily decreased in recent years.

Because of the enormous need, especially in the cities, the SPD, Greens and FDP had targeted the construction of 400,000 new apartments annually in their coalition agreement – 100,000 of which would be social housing. Because of the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the government admitted last year that it would initially miss its target. Scarce materials, a shortage of skilled workers and increased interest rates are among the obstacles.

Criticism of the state’s housing management

The chairman of the Construction-Agriculture-Environment industrial union, Robert Feiger, accuses the state of “mismanagement” in dealing with social housing. “He prefers to pay rents to landlords – which are often far too high – instead of investing intensively in the construction of social housing,” he told the German Press Agency. This caused the state’s social spending to skyrocket. The winners are the landlords who can enforce ever higher rents on the market.

The “Social Housing” alliance announced in advance, with reference to the study by the Pestel Institute, that the state was forced to pay a rent that was above the local comparative rents, especially in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Hamburg. The background: For recipients of citizen’s benefit, the state usually covers the costs of accommodation. And anyone who has a small income can apply for a subsidy for housing: housing benefit./bg/DP/zb

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