Labor shortages and lack of affordable housing are two of the main concerns in the Algarve.
The Algarve is a region where the tourism sector is essential. However, despite the pandemic, the region faces a serious problem that threatens the production of wealth in the region: the lack of manpower. A problem whose cause may come from the lack of affordable housing that prevents people from choosing the Algarve to work there.
To address these two problems (labour shortage and lack of affordable housing) that the mayor of Lagoa, Luís Encarnação, considers linked, the municipality will put in place several support measures for the community.
“The shortage of labor mainly affects our main economic activity (the tourism industry) and we must address it because without employees, businesses cannot function and if businesses do not function, they do not produce richness. So this is a problem that we have to solve.
In fact, “when the pandemic started, we expected the unemployment rate to rise, which did not happen thanks to the support the government gave to businesses that allowed them to survive,” said the mayor, adding that at this point everyone is complaining. on the lack of manpower.
law of supply and demand
However, it seems to have a specific cause. In fact, the Algarve does not have enough population to meet the demand, especially in summer. “When it comes to attracting people – who have to come from other parts of the country or even from abroad – the main obstacle is the lack of affordable housing.”
While home purchase prices are expensive, the rental market is no better. The prices demanded by the owners are even higher than a monthly payment to the bank. Additionally, the high demand from holidaymakers in the Algarve during the summer leads most landlords to let their properties only during the summer as they fetch higher rents, leaving tenants with few and expensive options.
In this regard, Lagoa Council is working on three different projects. The first will be called “primeiro direito” and will be a kind of social housing for households that are in extreme poverty and cannot pay rent above €60 per month.
“We are in the process of finalizing the projects and signing the contract with the IHRU, which is the national institute that supports these housing and urban planning projects. In addition, it is expected that the project can be 100% financed by the PRR (Recovery and Resilience Plan), which would be great for us, because we could allocate this money to other important projects,” said the mayor. However, since there is no 100% certainty, even without funding, the mayor assured that he would continue with the established plan.
Asked about the stigma that social housing can have on the people who will live there, Luís Encarnação shares the same concern. “This major investment will be made in the Porches district, where we already own the land. We are doing this project because we want to take advantage of the door opened to us by the PRR and we already have this land available”. However, he added that this will be the last social housing project, “because our next strategy will focus on the recovery of degraded buildings spread throughout the department”, he added.
Affordable rents or purchases
An example of this is the second housing project the chamber is working on, called “Affordable Housing”. With this plan, which aims to promote affordable rents and purchases, the municipality will put renovated houses on the market at controlled prices.
In fact, these houses will have prices controlled by decree-law and can be rented or purchased by young couples and people with economic needs who cannot buy a house or rent at market prices. “With this project, they will be able to start their life with dignity,” said the mayor.
In addition, to prevent people who do not have economic needs from taking advantage of this program, the mayor specified that certain criteria must be met. “It is perfectly possible to receive applications, analyze them and establish a list of families who can apply for these properties,” he said.
The third level concerns only private investments. In this case, “it will be a very large project for the municipality of Lagoa and although it is a private development belonging to a private developer; they promised that the houses would be sold in a certain amount that the families of Lagoa could afford, obviously increasing the population of the council and also increasing the workforce. In this specific case, we are talking about 300 houses”.
“Until a family in Lagoa has adequate housing, our work in this matter is not finished and that is why we must ensure that everyone has the right to adequate housing,” the mayor stressed.