Rent subsidies for homeless people in Hungary

Szombathely, Hungary Better Finance, Subsidizing rents


After decades of privatization, the Hungarian social housing stock is small by Western European standards, but the need for affordable housing is great.[1] As a result, some municipalities have introduced limited rent assistance programmes[2].



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For instance, the city of Szombathely has taken an active role mediating between homeless people and landlords providing rental accommodation. Since 2008, it has funded a capped rent subsidy system to support around 100 households annually, costing the city EUR 65,000 to EUR 80,000 per year, and providing EUR 70 per month to private landlords per household accommodated. This scheme costs less than refurbishing the city’s vacant or poorly maintained social housing stock.

Another city providing rent subsidy is Kecskemét, which has a population of 110,000 and a tiny social housing stock of 1,600 units. The rent assistance scheme supports 80-100 households each year. Households receive a subsidy for one year after which they must re-apply, enabling compliance checks. Both the Szombathely and Kecskemét municipalities, require a rental contract as a condition, but do not check if the landlord is compliant with the tax authority.

[1] József Hegedüs, Vera Horváth and Eszter Somogyi, “The Potential of Social Rental Agencies within Social Housing Provision in Post Socialist Countries: The Case of Hungary”, European Journal of Homelessness, vol. 8, Issue 2 (December 2014). Available at

[2] József Hegedüs, Vera Horváth and Eszter Somogyi, Affordable Housing in Central and Eastern Europe: Identifying and Overcoming Constraints in New Member States, (Budapest, Metropolitan Research Institute, 2017). Available at