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In its session on 19th September 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a new European Union Structural Fund support program for the renovation of social housing and the construction of new social housing. This will significantly improve the municipal social housing stock and reduce queues in municipalities for rented and social housing.

Both the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have indicated in their assessments that the number of social homes in Latvia is insufficient and they are in poor technical condition. Simultaneously, due to a lack of funding, there is no replenishment or improvement of the housing stock in municipalities. Therefore, the most vulnerable households, even if they qualify for limited housing assistance, may have to wait in line for years before the municipality rents them a flat.

Currently, in Latvia, there are approximately five thousand people waiting in line for the opportunity to receive municipal assistance - renting living spaces owned or rented by the municipality and for renting a social flat. The implementation of the support program will help ensure the availability of housing that meets decent living conditions for socially and economically vulnerable individuals.

Support is intended for municipalities, their institutions, or capital companies in the form of a grant to renovate or rebuild unrented separate room groups (apartments) or buildings owned by municipalities, and also to complete previously uncommissioned constructions and build new residential houses. The program conditions stipulate that as a result, municipalities will have to rent the housing to individuals in accordance with the law "On Housing Assistance", especially to the least protected categories of individuals, e.g., underprivileged individuals evicted from their homes, children left without parental care after coming of age, special category underprivileged individuals (with disabilities, those of retirement age), and others, as well as to categories of individuals specified in the binding regulations of municipalities.

The total planned funding for the support program is 60.9 million euros, consisting of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) financing of 51,765,000 euros and at least 9,135,001 euros from the municipal budget co-financing. It is planned that the Central Finance and Contracting Agency will announce the first-round selection in the coming months.

It is estimated that by 31st December 2029, with the support of the program, municipalities will be able to provide housing for at least 1,865 individuals in newly built or modernized social homes, including at least 200 individuals by 31st December 2024. It is intended that with the allocated support, at least 1,200 homes will be created by renovating individual apartments already owned by municipalities, while at least 665 homes could be created by constructing new residential buildings or renovating existing ones.

As a result of the project implementation, the apartments created must have full interior finishes. Bathrooms and toilets must be equipped with plumbing - a sink, mixer tap, toilet, and bathtub or shower cabin, and the kitchen must be equipped with a sink and mixer tap. Expenses for equipment and devices will also be included to ensure functionality in kitchens and sanitary rooms.

For more information about the European Union's Cohesion Policy program for 2021-2027, specific support target 4.3.1 "Promote the socio-economic integration of socially excluded communities, low-income households, and vulnerable groups, including people with special needs, by implementing integrated actions, including providing housing and social services", action "Renovation of social housing or construction of new social housing", please refer to the Unified Legal Acts Portal.

Ministry of Economics Public Relations Department Email address: prese@em.gov.lv Phone: 67013193