The Official Credit Institute (ICO), the Catalan Institute of Finance (ICF) and the Barcelona City Council have signed an agreement of 140 million euros (70 million euros each entity) to fund the renovation and construction of social housing rental and cohousing, promoted by foundations and cooperatives on concessionary basis. The agreement presented by Rosario Casero, General Director of Business at the ICO, Jordi Òliva, CEO of the ICF, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, aims to provide the City Council selected’s cooperatives and foundations with access to financing for them to develop renovation and construction projects, thus boosting public-private collaboration.
This innovative on supporting housing policies and on collaboration with non-profit organisations’s agreement will contribute to increasing the social housing stock with 1,000 houses. This new flats will be built over a maximum period of 10 years, which 60% will be used for affordable rental and 40% will be used for cohousing. The funding operations will cover till 100% of the cost of the project with the maximum limit of the appraisal value excluding the land and depending on the current modules. As a guideline, the limit for 2022 is set at 120,000 euros per flat.
This line of 140 million euros (which each entities provides 50% with), opened by the ICO and the ICF, will be used to finance the renovation and new construction actions, promoted by cooperatives and foundations on concessionary which were selected by the City Council in the ESAL agreement. Entities can give back the loan within an up to 30 years period.
Pioneer agreement for social economy
This is a pioneering agreement between these three parts, who have come together for the first time to promote housing construction and renovation projects developed by social economy. The agreement is also a commitment to a public-private collaboration model that guarantees public ownership of the land, with alternative formulas to full ownership (rental and cohousing). This signing’s goal is a more collaborative housing policy in the long term, and it makes easier the access to affordable housing.
Within the agreement signed by the ICO and the ICF, Barcelona City Council will support the operations with guarantee and, consequently, it will make it easier for cooperatives and foundations on concessionary basis to access funding in a commitment to innovative social housing policies. From this guarantee, the Consistory provides the access to financing for these entities, improving their credit quality. This is an innovative agreement because it includes municipal support for non-profit social operators to guarantee funding under the best conditions. It is also a very relevant agreement due to the magnitude of the economic import agreement.
This agreement contributes to solving one of the main difficulties of these projects which is the access to financing, as well as reducing expenses for citizens, and it is delimited in different actions of the Barcelona City Council to make this financing easier. The actions funded from this agreement respond to social sustainability guidelines because it seeks to answer, involving non-profit entities projects, to the need to sponsor affordable public housing in Barcelona. In addition, from an environmental point of view, it should be pointed out that the new funded architectural projects must incorporate energy improvements and other measures to reduce the ecological footprint and to limit polluting elements, according to the provisions of the State Housing Plan 2022-2025.
The ESAL agreement, promoted by the Barcelona City Council, aims to promote a housing model to provide the creation of community and collaborative bonds, as well as to promote more sustainable ways of use and construction. Within the framework of this measure (with the involvement of: Association of Managers of Social Housing Policies of Catalonia, the Federation of Housing Cooperatives HABICOOP, the Social Solidarity Economy Network (XES), and the Coordinator of Social Housing Foundations ( COHABITAC) ), the Consistory assigns land and municipal buildings for free during 99 years to be renovated and grants municipal subsidies (between 7% and 15% of the cost of construction or renovation) to social developers, cooperatives and foundations on concessionary basis, for construction or renovation of rental housing and cohousing. This measure also allows to guarantee the permanent public ownership of allocated lands.