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Housing policy analysis and proposal for the improvement of the housing of beneficiaries of international protection in Hungary - Summary

At present, the scope of state subsidies provided to those under international protection in Hungary in the field of housing does not differ from the subsidies available to Hungarian citizens. However, these are generally extremely limited and mostly benefit the more affluent social groups.

Housing support system had existed between 2008 and 2016 specifically for beneficiaries of international protection (subsistence benefits, integration contract), but it ran out by 2018, places at reception centers were reduced and EU funding to support organizations (AMIF) was made unavailable by the government.

Currently, a person under international protection can stay in an open reception center for 30 days after obtaining the status, and if he or she does not arrange his or her accommodation during that time, there is a good chance he or she will end up in a homeless shelter.
Refugees may have particular difficulties in acquiring independent housing due to the following factors:
- lack of locational knowledge,
- scarce sources of information due to language constraints,
- job search difficulties, and
- prejudice and discrimination against foreigners.

Rents for private rental housing have risen sharply in recent years and the number of state and municipal social rental housing has been low.

The central government should provide financial support through housing programs to those in need. These subsidies should primarily finance the social acquisition of property by the assisting organizations and local governments, as well as the implementation of the housing lease organized by the organizations. In the past, many resources have flowed through housing assistance programs to private owners, which is unsustainable.

Municipal rental housing can also be integrated into refugee housing programs in the long run by  organizations that rent it out and provide housing for refugees. In this way, the municipality has a contractual relationship with these organizations.
In addition to direct financial support, the central government can also help refugees through the following regulations:
- by providing targeted tax incentives, or
- by waiving the obligation to pay the levy.

Apart from financial support, aid organizations could receive not only administrative but also professional support from the relevant bodies of the central government. The government or the municipality could also provide them with preferential renting of offices.
It is also important to respond to the needs of particularly vulnerable refugee groups, such as women coming alone. In their case, it may be appropriate to maintain special institutional accommodation.

It would be worthwhile to systematically cooperate with immigrant communities, informal or formal organizations that play / have played important role in improving the housing of Hungarian refugees.

Full policy brief in English version is available here