Annual Report on Housing Poverty in Hungary 2016, english summary

2018-01-18

Hungary is one of the EU member states most seriously impacted by housing quality and overcrowding problems. Though affordability problems seem to impact the country less according to Eurostat indicators, people with the lowest income have to face high utility costs compared to their income, and the younger generation not yet in possession of an adequate owner-occupied home are affected by rapidly increasing housing prices and rents in cities.

For decades, Hungary has been lacking a coherent housing policy that is based on correct identification of problems causing housing poverty, provides complex policy solutions to housing problems and designates adequate resources to the implementation of such policies. Currently, housing policies and housing subsidies predominantly support people in accessing home ownership, to a lesser extent in the refurbishment and expansion of their owner-occupied homes. However, lower income households have less chances to access these subsidies and millions remain without adequate support from the government. Public resources allocated for services and programs mitigating different forms of housing poverty such as homeless care, affordable housing, improvement of poor quality housing and reduction of energy poverty are meagre. Furthermore, no sufficient attention is given to, nor funds are allocated for the development of the rental sector in a country dominated by homeownership.

In 2016, housing received special attention among public policies and the national housing budget significantly increased, however this change shifted the allocation of public resources even more to the benefit of higher income households. At the same time, the government, apart from introducing programs with limited reach, did not introduce significant measures aiming to mitigate housing poverty. The few minor improvements include enabling homeless shelters to use state aid for supporting people moving outside homeless shelters into rental housing. Additionally, two calls for proposals of pilot projects to be funded by the European Union were launched: housing-first type of programs targeting homeless people and programs mitigating segregation can be launched with support from the government.

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