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Premier makes move toward urban ghetto residents

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány has announced six government measures aimed to improve the living standards of housing estate residents as part of his ?100 Steps? program. ?We want to live in a country where housing estates offer a modern and friendly home to residents, where the cost of maintaining a home is not an excessive burden, and where a high standard of local services, cultural events and sports facilities, a supportive local community and better public safety provide a resident-friendly, quality living environment,? he said.
At present, approximately one fifth of Hungarian citizens live in prefabricated housing. Of the 795,000 housing estate apartments in Hungary, 500,000 are in prefab buildings, most of which were built more than 30 years ago and are currently in a state of decay. While the majority of the occupiers belong to low income brackets, the costs of living in these apartments is extremely high as they were built using a low-quality construction technology characteristic of the 1970s and 1980s.
The most important of the six steps is the launch of the so-called ?Panel Plus? state credit line, which provides finance for communities without sufficient funding to embark on a reconstruction project. In addition, the costs of district heating will be lowered, local police units patrolling housing estates will be set up, and government grants will be made available for creating a more appealing environment to live.