After the signing last autumn of the agreement between the Barcelona City Council and the non-profit organisations, foundations and cooperatives dedicated to housing, yesterday the 12 plots that will be developed and managed by these entities were allocated. In total, there are 12 developments representing 373 homes foreseen for an initial phase of the agreement. Of these, seven will be cohousing projects, and they have been allocated to cooperatives for the construction of 144 apartments. The other five developments will compose 229 apartments, allocated to rental projects. It is planned that the works of this first phase will commence in the year 2022 and be completed in 2024.
Accordingly, and as is established by the agreement, the Coordinator of Housing Social Foundations (Cohabitac) and the Federation of Housing Cooperatives of Catalonia (FCHC) will be the agents in charge of calling and receiving bids from entities interested in the rental developments. In regard to the developments addressed to cohousing, these agents will be the Solidarity Economy Network (XES) and, again, the FCHC. Once the bids considered most appropriate have been received and processed, the panel formed by the City Council and the Association of Managers of Social Housing Policies of Catalonia (GHS), with a municipal majority, will be the body which approves the definitive bids.
The planned developments include cohousing initiatives addressed to senior citizens and people with intellectual disabilities. In regard to cohousing, the Sostre Cívic and Vida Cooperativa cooperatives will take charge of promoting, respectively, cohousings for senior citizens and people with intellectual disabilities, which are pioneering and innovative initiatives that have long been called for by the cooperative housing sector. Specifically, they are the two developments located at Via Augusta, 375-381 and 383-387, and the development located in the same street at numbers 389-393 in the district of Sarrià–Sant Gervasi.
In regard to rentals, the agreement also reserved developments open to rental cooperatives, an innovative and unprecedented formula in the city of Barcelona, in which the tenants come to form part of the cooperative and access the management of the development.
The complete list of plots and buildings in this first phase is the following:
- Can Batlló, C/Mossèn Amadeu Oller 17-21, La Bordeta (Sants-Montjuïc). 40 homes. Allocated to the cooperative Empriu, Habitatges Cooperatius, SCCL.
- Building to be rehabilitated at C/Rossend Arús 36-38, Sants (Sants-Montjuïc). 7 homes. Allocated to the cooperative La Domèstika de la Farga, SCCL.
- Via Augusta 375-381 and 383-387, Sarrià (Sarrià–Sant Gervasi). Two developments of 15 and 17 homes, respectively, for senior cohousing. Allocated to the cooperative Sostre Cívic, SCCL.
- Via Augusta 389-393, Sarrià (Sarrià–Sant Gervasi). 17 cooperative homes for people with intellectual disability. Allocated to the cooperative Vida Cooperativa, SCCL.
- C/Gustavo Bécquer 11X, Vallcarca i Els Penitents (Gràcia). 25 homes. Allocated to the cooperative Ruderal, SCCL.
- 22@ Sector Balius, C/Pere IV 115, El Parc and La Llacuna del Poblenou (Sant Martí). 23 homes. Allocated to the cooperative Abril Poblenou, SCCL.
- Sant Martí 12-16, El Raval (Ciutat Vella). 43 homes. Allocated to the foundations Salas and Nou Lloc.
- Building to be rehabilitated at Pg. Joan de Borbó 44-45, La Barceloneta (Ciutat Vella). 18 homes. Allocated to the Fundació Hàbitat 3.
- C/Ulldecona 11.X, La Marina del Prat Vermell (Sants-Montjuïc). 84 homes. Allocated to the foundations FIBS and Iniciativa Social.
- C/Vallcarca 110X, Vallcarca i Els Penitents (Gràcia). 37 homes. Allocated to the foundations Salas and Nou Lloc.
- C/Binèfar 26, La Verneda I La Pau (Sant Martí). 47 homes for rental cooperative. Allocated to the cooperative Fem Ciutat, SCCL.
Promotion of collaboration with the non-profit private sector
With this agreement, the Barcelona City Council becomes the administration with the broadest programme of collaboration with cooperatives and foundations in Catalonia and in the Spanish state as a whole, and it represents the Barcelona City Council’s commitment to continue working in this line. In total, since the year 2015 a total of 10 developments and 246 homes have been promoted, with the long-term use assignation of plots to cooperatives which, added to the developments which will now be initiated, will be converted into more than 600 homes by way of delegated development.
In the coming months, a second phase is planned with plots for some 280 homes, and the list will continue to grow to 1,000 homes during the coming years. As is established in the agreement, of these 1,000 apartments, approximately 60% will be allocated to affordable rental and approximately 40% to cohousing, with the guarantee that the people who will live there will always have the Register of Applicants for HPO [Official Protected Housing], and public control over the use of the homes will be maintained.
The Barcelona City Council will be the proprietor of the land of these developments and will assign their surface right to the beneficiary cooperatives and foundations, from which it will charge a rate after 25 years of assignment. This facilitates the financial viability of the operators who during the initial years will have to bear the costs of the works. Once the credits have matured, the entities will also allocate 50% of the operating results to the IMHAB or any body to be decided, and these contributions will serve to finance new delegated housing developments. The awardee entities will enjoy the surface right for 99 years.
One of the advantages of delegating management and development to non-profit private entities is that this facilitates and streamlines the processes of drafting architectural projects and commissioning the works from construction firms without having to call public tenders. At the same time, co-governance and the mechanisms laid down in the agreement guarantee public transparency and control.
In regard to the persons awarded these homes, they must all be recorded in the Register of Applicants for Official Protection Homes. In the case of the more than 1,000 rental developments, the City Council will allocate them through the habitual channels. In regard to the cohousing developments, as is laid down in the law, the cooperative will decide on the persons who form part of them and who will have to be recorded in the Register of Applicants.
The transparency factor has been very important throughout the process, and consequently the Federation of Housing Cooperatives of Catalonia (FCHC), the Coordinator of Social Housing Foundations (Cohabitac) and the Solidarity Economy Network Association (XES) have created a website to explain this movement and publicise the details of the criteria of control and guarantees to ensure general interest in the allocation of projects. It is also possible to find information on how an end user can access rental homes and use assignment.