City-Owned Social Housing in Vienna

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By Nikolas Kichler:

"Facing severe housing shortages in the early 20th century, Vienna has worked hard to address the issues of homelessness and affordability with what has become a hundredyear history of progressive housing policies. Beginning with the Tenancy Act in 1917 and followed by the community-driven housing cooperatives in the early 1920s, the subsequent “Red Vienna” period – 1924 to 1933 – and post World War II reforms, the city has continually made housing for all its residents a top priority.

Vienna's emphasis on community-supporting housing practices is palpable in some of the policies that have been implemented, such as allowing nonprofit co-ops to enjoy tax reliefs – while making it mandatory for them to reinvest profits back into housing – stimulating affordability by providing financial support for the construction of buildings, regulating the maximum rent that may be asked for an apartment by private providers, or offer a city-run arbitration office at no cost, as well as individual subsidies to low-income households. The city currently owns and manages roughly 220,000 apartments, and is also home to a further 136,000 subsidized residences by nonprofit cooperatives. These co-ops originated during the reconstruction effort following WWII, and today are increasingly being initiated by “Baugruppen” (self-organized intentional housing groups). Examples of cooperative housing initiatives are the Sargfabrik, in 1996, or the Wohnprojekt Wien, in 2013. These housing cooperatives, combined with state-owned apartments, make up an incredible 60 percent of today’s Viennese housing."

More Information

  • View the full policies here (German): (Same order as above)