In 2012/2013 the City of Poznań (PL) and its company Poznań Social Housing Association (PTBS) decided to create an affordable housing programme called “Apartments for Graduates”. The scheme intended to meet the needs of university graduates and retain young talent in the city. The combination of affordable pricing and good conditions resulted in a very high – and continuing – demand for flats in the programme.
In Poznan there is a shortage of affordable housing, which is a significant barrier to the development of the city. The shortage of housing contributes to the systematic decline in population, which migrates to the communes located near the city.
The programme functions on the basis of a rental housing model and tenants have to cover the costs: repayable participation in the apartment development costs, rent and a reimbursable deposit. It aims to create good housing conditions for young people, but it also contributes to the overall development of the city as it boosts its economic and social development by providing new employees and creating a lively neighbourhood.
Tenants are chosen on the basis of several selection criteria: they should be university graduates who graduated within the last five years, they must not be more than 36 years old, and should not own any other apartment in Poznań. They must work in or run a business in Poznań and pay taxes there. There is also an upper and a lower income limit. Each person can rent a flat for up to 10 years. In the first wave of recruitment there were 250 applicants, and later about 130.
The programme makes it possible to increase the quality of life of young people and help them to become more independent. It enables them to settle in Poznań, which stops the negative migration trend. The lease period of 10 years helps young people to become financially independent because they get help at the beginning of their careers. This stability is helpful in setting up a family.The rent is appropriate for the financial situation of young people and the surface area and location of the apartments suit their needs: close to the city centre and its well-developed infrastructure.
The residential estate, which is aimed at university graduates, includes 4 residential buildings with 143 apartments, including 77 one-room and 66 two-room flats. In the area there are also two underground garage areas.The area of the housing estate for young people is located close to the green areas. It is well served by public transport and by bicycle lanes, which encourages them to use more sustainable forms of transport.
BUILDING ON A SUSTAINABLE AND INTEGRATED APPROACH
Apartments for Graduates is part of a sustainable housing system encompassing many social groups, i.e. the elderly, youth, the poor. Owing to the well-thought-out system, the solutions offered for each of the groups are best suited for their needs. However, creating housing especially for one group does not create social exclusion. For example, in the housing estate for the elderly there is also a kindergarten for mentally disabled children.
The programme can be a good way of development for medium-sized cities which face the negative migration trend. The programme is an example of a project that many people can benefit from and it can be applied to many different cities because its extent can be adapted to the city’s size, number of students and financial situation.
The Apartments for Graduates programme is so appealing because it focuses solely on young people. It suits their needs and creates a community of people with similar life situations and attitudes. Moreover, the target group is university graduates, people with a good educational background who are potential employees for local companies. There is also a trend of young people emigrating to smaller towns or cities. They can travel and simultaneously work off-site.