ATER Venezia: two thousand vacant public housing units

Plans call for the sale of 1,000 units to raise money for restoration work. The opposition: “A failed policy”

By Mitia Chiarin

7 June 2022

VENEZIA. The subject of restoring the public housing assets in Venice re-emerged from the 2021 reports submitted by the Regional ATER, triggering a debate and general concern in a city with high housing tension like Venice.

A Negative Record

The Province of Venice hit a record number of vacant residences in 2021, with 2,187 units. In 2022, explains ATER President Fabio Nordio, that number has declined to just over 2,000. However, the problem remains. Significant investments are required to cover the costs of maintenance and modernizations, which have often been neglected for decades. So it is surprising that, precisely due to this large public housing stock, there was no policy to immediately invest the 110% bonus (a possibility granted after many months, which Insula is now trying in Mestre for the Municipality).

High Costs in Venice

ATER estimates that in the historic center of Venice the restoration of 490 homes will require an average expense of 80,000 euro per apartment (for restoration and energy redevelopment). Fixing them all? That would mean investing 40 million euro in the Venice historic center alone (and an estimated 170 million in the province). However, in 2022, between supply crises and war, the cost of materials is causing total costs to rise dramatically, especially in the historic center.

The Criticism: “A failure”

These numbers lead Giovanni Andrea Martini, city councilor for Tutta la Città Insieme to say that “the institution’s policy has been a failure for decades. It means that ordinary maintenance has never been done, and so the costs of restoration have risen to the point of being unfeasible. As a result the homes either remain closed up, as in Venice, or are sold, as in the rest of the Municipality, with the excuse of raising funds to restore other homes, in a vicious circle that does not respond to the needs of the citizens,” he said, criticizing the “right-wing governments” of Venice and Veneto.

Plan for Property Sales

In the property sale plan being examined by the Region, ATER Venezia foresees an income of 9 million euro for the sale of close to a thousand homes (720 are currently leased and 208 are vacant). The historic center of Venice is excluded from the sale. Of the 299 residences that have been fixed and assigned, 63 are in the historic center, 84 on the mainland and 152 in the province.

Works Restart in Campo Marte

Now ATER has announced the resumption of work in Campo Marte: the timetable from the new subcontractor has arrived, and on 8 June the addendum of the contract to finally restart the work will be signed.

Fewer Residents in Arrears

Another sensitive issue, delinquent rent, decreased from 10% to 8% between 2020 and 2022. The crisis of the pandemic caused concerns, as does the crisis of war now. “Delinquency accounts for 800 thousand euros of 11.3 million in rent collections” explains Nordio. However, thanks to Regional law 39, the average rent, which was 118 euros per resident in 2018, has now been lowered to 88.23, meaning close to 30 euros less income per tenant.

Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre

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