Mon -38 Support for Social Housing Programme of the Municipality of Podgorica. Construction of two buildings with 24 apartments each for 48 low-income families
Municipality of Podgorica in cooperation with Dutch International Guarantees for Housing Foundation (DGHI)
:: REALISATION / BUDGET
May until December 2005
:: SHORT DESCRIPTION
The project’s primary objective is to provide sustainable and affordable housing solutions for vulnerable social and low income groups in Podgorica.
A first step towards achieving this objective is the construction of two apartment buildings with 24 flats each of an average size of 38.5 sqm.
The project’s secondary objective is to establish a model for the development of a municipal housing association for the purpose of managing Podgorica’s social housing stock.
In its 2004 strategy paper “The Housing Sector – Access to Affordable Housing” the Housing Action Plan of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe points out that housing needs in South Eastern Europe need to be addressed urgently, in particular of low-income groups, refugees, displaced persons and other vulnerable social groups in oder to ensure social and political stability!
Podgorica, the capital of the Republic Montenegro houses approx. one third of Montenegro’s population, which is estimated at 650.000 people. Due to the instability in the region Montenegro has had to shelter a large number (44,103 persons) of refugees and IDPs from the surrounding areas. One third of these refugees and IDPs (12,130) have found shelter in Podgorica, but also a large number of economic rural migrants from the north of the country have moved to the capital. As a result the present population of Podgorica is expected to have passed the 200,000 inhabitants threshold.
The population growth has been very fast and the municipality has had great difficulties to keep up with the growth by providing serviced land and apartments at affordable prices. Quite a number of Podgarica’s inhabitants therefore had to move onto public land and construct illegal dwellings. The number of illegal buildings (both those without building permit and those occupying public land) is said to have reached 20,000 units.
Also some of the elderly/ retired Montenegrin people who have seen their income/ pension/ savings being reduced to almost nothing and other poor and destitute families either from Podgorica or from other parts of Montenegro, especially from the north, have found refuge in the illegal settlements.
The municipality of Podgorica has now begun to restore law and is preventing the construction of new illegal buildings without the required permits and documentation. At the same time efforts are undertaken to legalize illegal constructions that were built earlier and to provide new opportunities for the construction of urgently needed social and private housing by adopting new urban and special plans.
Affordable housing is in major demand. The combination of the wars and the falling apart of socialist housing policies has created a situation in which even a well functioning housing market would only be able to cater to parts of the needs, as purely market-based solutions are bound to be unaffordable to some 25-30% of the population. The thus suppressed excess demand is physically articulated by the emergence of informal settlements at the fringes of the town.
No housing and spatial planning policies for economic growth, social cohesion and poverty reduction exist yet. This is even more relevant after the practically complete privatization of public housing stock. The existing stock is deteriorating rapidly as it has changed hands from largely public to private ownership.
Construction of 2 apartment buildings
Based on the positive experiences made with the construction of to date 2 apartment building with 24 flats each for refugees and displaced persons in Podgorica by the German NGO HELP the municipality has entrusted to HELP the commissioning of the construction of two similar buildings which will be made available for housing a number of Podgorica’s social vulnerable population. The buildings with some 950 m² each of net living space will be erected in the suburb of Zagoric on a plot of land made available by the municipality of Podgorica. The plot chosen is bordering the plot on which HELP in 2003 had already erected a similar building with 24 flats.
Each flat will have an average living space of 39.5 m² consisting of a combined kitchen and living room, a separate bedroom and a bathroom. In view of the climatic conditions prevailing in Podgorica all flats will also have a small balcony.
Award of contracts for the construction will be done by the municipality’s implementing partner, HELP, on the basis of tendering according to international standards. HELP has committed itself to monitor all works and the timely implementation of the works through experienced personnel at all stages of the project.
Development of management structure for social housing stock
With the completed construction of an apartment building for refugees in Zagoric and the construction of an apartment building for Roma in a separate part of the town as well as the construction of the two buildings for social vulnerable persons Podgorica will already dispose of a core social housing stock. However, questions remain open as to the actual management of this stock and any future additions to it. Hence it has become a matter of urgency to obtain as soon as possible a sustainable structural management proposal. On the basis of clear guidelines and recommendations mechanisms will be introduced to ensure that investments are made into the public part of the buildings, i.e. staircases, roofs, entrance areas, water, electricity etc.
It has therefore been agreed that institutional housing expert(s) assist the city of Podgorica and its implementing partner with reviewing the options for establishing a nucleus management structure for its housing
development with the potential to develop it into a (municipal) housing
association for the purpose of managing social (municipal) housing stock (initially
in Zagoric/Zlatica), ensuring not only that the units are built at
appropriate standards affordable to the target group, that tenants are selected in
accordance with clear and equitable criteria to be agreed with the municipality,
but also that the housing complex is operated and maintained properly, that rent
is collected at agreed intervals, and more generally that good relationships
are maintained between management and the tenants.
The Dutch International Guarantees for Housing Foundation (DGHI) in cooperation with Stichting Garanties Huisvesting International (SGHI) has provided the funding for this programme. Contruction of the two buildings is effected on the basis of a credit arrangement with the said organizations while the technical assistance component has been provided on a grant basis.