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Good Practices from the Network: Financial incentives and provision of information about funding opportunities in Brussels

31 July 2017

The Intermediate 2nd Chance Good Practice Compilation n.1 focus includes the most interesting examples of Project and Tools to Support the Reactivation of Vacant Buildings presented by the Partners during the Meetings. The City of Brussels has developed an interdepartmental database linked to a geographical information system to monitor abandoned buildings and to identify buildings to act on and an interesting tool to support owners with financial incentives and provision of information about funding opportunities to rehabilitate its building. 

Objective of project are:

  • To give financial support for the creation of separated access to housing above ground floors;
  • To give provision of information about funding opportunities to owners and adequate companies for the preparation and implementation of rehabilitation works.

Description of project
The City of Brussels (Strategies of Development Unit/Urban Planning Department) has developed an interdepartmental database linked to a geographical information system which makes it possible to monitor abandoned buildings and to identify buildings to act on.
In the beginning, a letter is sent to the owner of an abandoned building. It warns the owner about the tools which the City of Brussels can use to encourage the owner to rehabilitate its building (i.e. tax on abandoned, neglected, unoccupied or unfinished buildings’).

In addition it offers following incentive tools:

  • Financial support for the creation of separated access to housing above ground floors in commercial use.

As there are about 290 houses which floors above the shops are empty due to the lack of a separate entrance, the city offers financial support granted within the framework of a global project, subject to planning permission, which includes a separate access to housing and the reuse of the floors to housing. The financial support covers 70 % of the cost of the work, with a limit of 15.000 € per building.

  • Information about funding opportunities and adequate companies for the preparation and implementation of rehabilitation works.

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Centre Urbain: this free information desk informs and advises the citizens in their renovation and construction project (renovation/energy subsidies, on-site diagnosis, etc.)

Project X: this association, depending of the Public Social Assistance Center (PSAC) of the City of Brussels, conceives and realises necessary works, partially subsidised, in order to improve dwelling units to a minimum level of health and safety. Then, the management of these refurbished dwellings is taken over directly by the PSAC. Since the Project X is also a project for professional insertion, the works are realised by unemployed persons who want to develop technical competences on site works.

Social Estate Agencies: these associations act as intermediaries between private landlords and tenants looking for housing. They socialise the rental housing stock in order to allow people with modest incomes to access to quality housing at affordable prices.

Recommendations / to be aware of applying the project/tool
The amount of financial support is depending of the annual budget allotments voted each year.

Further information / examples in the web
https://www.bruxelles.be/artdet.cfm?id=6107

http://www.curbain.be/

http://www.projetx.be/

Contact person:

Milena Vleminckx, City of Brussels, Strategies of Development Unit/ Urban Planning Department

Milena.Vleminckx@brucity.be