This is part of an approved proposal to extend the housing supply with the mobilisation of public and private vacant properties.
To extend the supply of houses for rent at affordable prices, mobilising properties belonging to public entities, such as former police barracks, with a conversion into housing which is "easy and fast to execute". This is the objective of Lisbon City Council (CML), which sees the proposal as something to "strengthen the Affordable Income Programme (PRA)" approved at a private meeting of the chamber executive, which was held by videoconference on 9th April, 2020 in Lisbon.
The proposal was laid out by the MP responsible for Social Action, Manuel Grilo, as well as the MP responsible for Housing, Paula Marques, and was passed with the favorable votes of PS (the Portuguese Socialist Party) and BE (Left Bloc) and the abstention of PSD (Social Democratic Party), CDS-PP (CDS – People's Party) and PCP (the Portuguese Communist Party).
According to the Portuguese news agency Lusa, cited in various media reports, the municipality will initiate "procedures with the various public entities that own property in municipal territory" for the creation of a public housing supply for rental at affordable prices, with the possibility of purchase option by the municipality. In addition to the public patrimony, private vacant dwellings and "collective use" vacant buildings should also be mobilised.
Plans also include mobilising vacant buildings for renovation and developable land for new construction, in order to then promote rental properties at affordable costs, "as well as central government buildings, including former police barracks, whose conversion into housing is easy and quick to implement".
According to the proposal, reported by the news agency, the extension of the mobilisation of means should "serve not only to respond to the middle class segment, but also to the most vulnerable families who traditionally fit into the Regime de Renda Apoiada (Supported Rent Scheme)", reads the proposal.
It should also be noted that recently the Court of Auditors (Tribunal de Contas) in Portugal gave the "green light" (more than a year later) to another affordable rent project in Lisbon, located in Rua de São Lázaro. The project involves the renovation of 103 affordable rental homes.
The first draw for the allocation of 120 affordable rental homes under the PRA was held on 12th March, 2020. The candidates (among the 3,170 applications that were submitted) had, however, to follow the results from home, following the contingency plan against the new coronavirus.