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Housing in Lisbon: City Hall forges ahead with council housing upgrades

Has no time for certain measures proposed by government

Lisbon City Hall has reinforced its rejection of certain measures proposed by the government to address the housing crisis, stressing that the coercive rental of empty privately-owned properties will “bring more problems than solutions”.

Filipa Roseta, Lisbon’s housing and development councillor has been explaining to SIC Noticias that “the municipality is not going to make coercive seizures for the simple reason that it is dedicated to trying to put current housing stock into decent condition”.

There are currently dozens of council housing initiatives that have had no upgrade, or urban renewal interventions, for as many as 40 years (in other words, since they were built). 

At least 13,000 council homes in the city need rehabilitation, 8,000 of them urgently, she said.

Thus the intention to move forwards with 11 municipal ‘upgrades’ this year, at the cost of €23 million.

Filipa Roseta stresses that by law, all municipal housing in existence in the capital should have benefitted from maintenance works every eight years. This never happened.

The first neighbourhoods to start seeing action finally are: 2 de Maio, Açucenas, Alfinetes, Boavista, Bom Pastor, Condado, Flamenga, Nascimento Costa, Padre Cruz, Rego and Telheiras Sul. 

The works will take in 109 apartment blocks, totalling more than 2,700 homes.

Tenders have already been launched, and the first undertakings are due to start this month in Padre Cruz and Alfinetes. 

The remaining works will begin between June and September.

Moved by its “enormous concern” at the parlous state of housing in the capital, the local authority carried out “an exhaustive survey” of situations in municipal neighbourhoods, Filipa Roseta explains.

It then transferred €42 million to Gebalis, the company responsible for the management of municipal housing – of this amount €17 million is to be on rehabilitating empty homes that “need a quick paint job, or doors” for example. The rest of the money will go on doing work in neighbourhoods “painting, repairing lifts, removing asbestos from roofs” etc.

But the need for rehabilitation exceeds €100 million, the councillor adds, thus the push to win €85 million in PRR funding (the European recovery and resilience programme) in order to ensure that people living in indecent housing are finally given suitable alternatives.

“If we can achieve something with the PRR, we will be able to reach many families in a much faster way”, she stresses. “Up till now, the council has had no support from the PRR”; thousands of families are living in indecent conditions; “the PRR must consider these people”, she told SIC.

Says Lusa in a text dedicated to the municipality’s housing plans, “according to official data, between 1987 and 2004, the municipality of Lisbon built 16,632 homes under the PIMP (medium-term intervention plan) and PER (special rehousing programme).

Source material: SIC/ Lusa