According to idealista news, the Vila Nova de Cerveira City Council will invest 5.5 million euros to rehabilitate 53 houses in the Mata Velha Social neighborhood and intends to convert vacant public buildings into housing for young people.

In a statement sent to newsrooms this Tuesday (November 7, 2023), the municipality of the district of Viana do Castelo said that the application for the rehabilitation of the Mata Velha social neighborhood, a municipal property, “is one of the solutions considered a priority" in the addition to the collaboration agreement for the Local Housing Strategy (ELH) of Vila Nova de Cerveira, within the scope of the 1st Right program.

In addition to that program, the municipality will also “boost affordable rentals for young people” through the conversion of the former Youth Hostel building, which was initially going to be transformed into a hotel but the project ended up not being implemented. The old Youth Hostel, closed in 2008, is located in the heart of the historic center.

“Looking for a strategic partnership with IHRU, the City Council’s objective is to convert it to affordable youth rental, creating yet another housing response to meet the great demand from workers in the industrial zone of Vila Nova de Cerveira”, explains the municipality.

The municipality also identified other buildings and vacant units, owned by various entities, for rehabilitation and conversion into housing.

As examples, the municipality points to the old building that served as a kindergarten in Campos, which will be converted into T3 housing, a building owned by the União de Freguesias de Campos and Vila Meã, which will be transformed into two housing units, and also the construction of eight new homes at controlled costs, of types T1 and T2, with the acquisition of land in the União de Freguesias de Campos and Vila Meã.

In addition to the collaboration agreement for ELH, signed on Monday (6 November 2023), between the municipality and IHRU, the initial investment in the municipality increased from around 300 thousand euros to 6.7 million euros.

The rehabilitation of the Mata Velha social neighborhood is one of the main interventions of the Vila Nova de Cerveira ELH.

“More than two decades after its construction, it appears that this municipal housing stock no longer meets the appropriate conditions, falling within the criteria of an unworthy housing situation, requiring improvement work within the scope of energy efficiency and adaptation and improving the accessibility of internal spaces”, states the note from the municipality.

For the president of the Chamber, Rui Teixeira, the revision of the document will allow “to meet the housing needs of young people who are unable to become independent”, as it represents a huge cost and because, in the case of Vila Nova de Cerveira, the housing supply is scarce or non-existent, for those with low income and consequent difficulty in obtaining decent housing.

For the socialist mayor, the planned investment will also be a “tool to attract and retain population in the municipality”.

The Minister of Housing, Marina Gonçalves, present at the signing of the addition to the collaboration agreement for the ELH of Cerveira, said that “the essence of the 1st Law program is based on responses to pressing needs through renovation and revitalisation, without neglecting the construction of new responses that also cover young people and the middle class”.