The number of “free” homes provided to impoverished families in rural Colombia could triple next year, the minister in charge of implementing the new initiative has said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launched the Rural Affordable Housing program Thursday, which will see the national government fund 80% of the cost of new and renovated homes for displaced and poor families, with municipal governments supplying the remaining 20%.
Past affordable housing initiatives have required applicants to take on 10% of the cost.
The government has allocated $75 million for the program this year, with the target of completing 100,000 new and upgraded houses by 2013, according to a ministry statement. The funding is available to new applicants and recipients of existing government programs, including the Land Restitution Unit, which is restoring displaced Colombians to rural communities.
32,000 dwellings currently receive government funding, a figure that could triple under the plan, according to agriculture minister Juan Carmilo Restrepo.
He added that rural families represent more than 50% of those in need of housing assistance.
Subsidies for improving basic sanitation increased by 14% under the new program. Available funding for construction of new housing grew 41% under the plan, to $7,400 per family, equivalent to two years of minimum monthly wages.