Housing emergency in debate in Salzburg

06 Apr 2023

A motion to declare a housing emergency in Salzburg has been submitted ahead of the city's regional election day later this month.

KPÖ municipal councillor Salzburg, Kay-Michael Dankl put forward the motion at a municipal council meeting on Wednesday, Der Standard reports.

According to findings by the Salzburg Institute for Regional Planning (SIR), housing costs make up an average of 44% of household income. Yet in the last state election in 2018, this figure stood at 36%, and in 2015 it was 29%.

Dankl aims to reactivate the four-decade-old Land Acquisition Act, which permits municipalities the right of first refusal on large, undeveloped land, The Local reports.

In July last year, the Innsbruck municipal council declared a housing emergency at the SPÖ's request, a move supported by the majority of parties. Yet the city is waiting for the province to release a decree to allow pre-emption rights for undeveloped plots of land over 2,000 square metres allocated as building land. A total of 80 plots would be eligible for this in Innsbruck.

Whereas in Salzburg, the SPÖ and Green Citizens' List were in favour of the motion. Yet, against the move were the political majority of ÖVP, FPÖ and Neos.

As it stands, around 5,000 people in Salzburg are registered as seeking housing. According to the latest housing needs survey, 1,557 people in the city are impacted by a severe housing shortage. This refers to being homeless, being forced to stay with friends and family, or being affected by an unfavourable housing situation. 

Following a fall during the Covid crisis, the number of people affected by the housing crisis has returned to 2018's elevated levels. The report goes on to add.

In addition, the number of minors impacted by housing issues is rising. "These children and young people have worse chances than others right from the start," said Petra Geschwendtner of the Forum Homeless Assistance. "If no countermeasures are taken, poverty will take root long-term. 

"These children, therefore, need to be helped out of this situation as soon as possible so that they do not continue to be deprived of their developmental and educational opportunities."