+ BACKGROUND, CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES
Suwon has been establishing a policy and system implementing housing welfare services with the goal of creating an ‘Inclusive City, Suwon,’ since the election of mayor Yeom Tae-young during the 6th election. Since the re-lection of mayor Yeom in the 7th election, the vision of Suwon is “People-centered, Greater Suwon,” which highlight how the concept of ‘love for the people,’ an idea championed by King Jeongjo (Joseon Dynasty) during the construction of Suwon Hwaseong fortress 200 years agao, is still ongoing.
In his 2018 New Year Speech, Mayor Yeom announced that all citizens deserve to enjoy housing welfare rights and that it should be included as part of the citizens 4 welfare rights, alongside labor, education and childcare.
Moreover, during the 2019 Suwon Forum on Human City, Mayor Yeom expressed during the policy talk that authority on housing welfare policies needs to be transferred from the central government to local governments, acknowledging that housing welfare issues should be explored both at the central and local government level.
Suwon has been continuously establishing and strengthening Suwon-type welfare models pursuing housing stability for all. Suwon's customized projects minimize the blind spot of standardized and universal housing welfare policies implemented by the central government by carrying out community-centered housing welfare services. Suwon housing welfare projects include the followings:
1. Suwon Human Housing Project for multi-child families;
2. Housing Benefit System offering financial support for housing stability;
3. Village Sarangbang providing places for people who abruptly lost their house and for people who plans to start their businesses;
4.Green Building Construction Support Project improving aging housing into eco-friendly green buildings;
5. Clean Care Service enhancing residential environment leading to the quality of life;
6. Home Service: Yes! Civil Complaints Handling Services, a customized visiting housing welfare services.
These are the efforts of Suwon to make all citizens enjoy decent housing standard.
+ ACTIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION
The city of Suwon originally established the 'Ordinance for Housing Welfare Support,' which was completely reformed to become the 'Ordinance for Suwon Housing Welfare' in order to lay the institutional foundation for implementing Suwon-type housing welfare policies. Based on this legal basis, Suwon has been realizing inclusive housing welfare that is multifaceted, active and community based, leading to the improvement of residential environment.
1. Suwon Human Housing : Better Residential Environment for Multi-child Households
In the wake of the rising rent fees in Seoul and urban areas, many citizens have a difficulty in paying their rent. Multi-child families are facing an especially hard situation in finding houses that fits their family size and minumum housing standards. Suwon is implementing the Suwon Human Housing Project in order to support multi-child families to alleviate their financial burden on housing. The project has been initiated in 2018 to help families with four and more children, overcoming the blind spot of housing welfare services designed by the central government.
Through this project, considering the large number of family members, Suwon purchases a house sized between 60㎡ and 85㎡ . When offering Suwon Human housing, Suwon also takes into account the distance to the family members’ workplaces and schools. First floor is also preferred so as to not have the families to worry about noise between floors that might bring about conflict with their downstairs neighbors.
Suwon Human Housing allows familiaes to live in these houses for 20 years at most (2 year period contract, renewable up to 9 times), reducing their financial burden as they only need to pay management fees. This project will contribute to raising the low-birth rate as it can alleviate housing burden for multi-children households who do not own a house and guarantee basic living needs for them.
This project costs 9.4 billion Korean Won. The budget will cover the purchase of 23 units and a capabilities to rent 177 units of LH retal housing to support multi-children families. (LH : Renting House & Managing House Facilities, Suwon : Offering Rent Deposits & Rental Fees)
2. Housing Benefit System : Financial Support for Housing Stability
The Housing Benefit System consists of 'Rent Support' and 'Repair Maintenance Benefits' in order to stabilize housing and to enhance residential standard for the vulnerable groups.
The central government announces the eligibility conditions including the scope of beneficiary, minimum guarantee standard, the standard for payment and benefit calculation, then the local governments make a payment (Central government budgets 90%, Provincial budgets 7%, Local government budgets 3%). Housing benefit is provided to households with standard median income of 45% or less regardless of their working ability and ages. When people own a house, they are eligible to get Repair Maintenance Benefits according to the level of housing deterioration(structural safety, facility condition, finishing condition).
3. Village Sarangbang (Guest room) : To Realize a Housing Ladder
Suwon Sustainable City Foundation, a Suwon-funded organization, takes vacant houses among LH rental housing and provide them rent-free to the needy people who are facing difficulties due to natural disaster, forced eviction and bankruptcy. They are allowed to stay for a period of up to 3 months as a temporary emergency housing. Young entrepreneurs and social economy enterprises are also eligible to utilize the places for preparing their business while only paying utility charges such as electricity charges.
Community centers find citizens having difficulties realted to housing and connect them to the Housing Welfare Supporting Centers that provide emergency housing services. This helps them recover stability in their lives, serving as a housing ladder.
As of 2020, the number of temporary emergency housings and places for young entrepreneurs and social economy enterprises stands at 10 and 14 respectively. Ten additional units to the temporary emergency housing are planned in 2021 to support households who are struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. Project for Green Buildings Construction Support : Pursuing Eco-friendly Housing Welfare
Suwon has been dedicated to adopting eco-friendly housing welfare. More specifically, Suwon established the 'Green Building Construction Support Ordinance' and 'Suwon Grant Management Ordinance' to implement a green building support project.
In 2013, Suwon was the first city in Korea to initiate a green building construction support project by subsidizing part of the costs incurred by remodeling and modifying aging houses to transform them into green buildings. Houses that are over 15 years are entitled to receive 50 percent of the costs arising from replacing existing windows with double window panels and hot water heating panels and by rewarming work and electricity work (such as replacing lights with LED), which would lead to energy conserving green buildings to improve energy efficiency and residential environment.
Committee for green building construction judges and selects who gets the support, and in 2021 a total of 360 households will receive 1.2 billion Won in grant.
5. Clean Care Project : Improving the Quality of Life in Clean Residential Environment
Citizens with compulsive hoarding syndrome, disability and chronic diseases living in poor housing conditions receive mental health services as well as cleaning and disinfection services that local citizens support and participate in. This project aims to prevent citizens from contracting various diseases and to improve their quality of life.
Public-private cooperative bodies established in 44-dong(district) discover beneficiaries to provide suitable services including cleaning, laundry, disinfection, hygiene guidance, and mental health services. Suwon·Woman Local Self-help Center is mostly in charge of improving residential conditions through cleaning and laundry services and Suwon Happiness Mental Health Welfare Center is responsible for mental health services to ensure self-help. In 2020, 24 households have benefited from the services with 21 million Won of donation money.
6. Home Service Project : Yes! Civil Complaints Handling Services : Customized Visiting Housing Welfare Services
This project, launched in 2012, targeting socially vulnerable people including senior citizens living alone, secondary lower income families and basic livelihood beneficiaries, provides home services to the target groups as they experience inconvenience at home. It offers practical solutions to various civil complaints such as wall covering, fixing window panels, replacing light bulbs and aging electric wires, examining and fixing electronic goods and fixing plumbing facilities.
A seven members experts group teams up in groups of 2 and visit households who make a claim to address the problems arising from poor residential conditions. In addition, it pursues one-stop services aiming to solve all problems in one visit. In 2021, it is expected to expand the beneficiaries to families with four and more children facing financial difficulties.
+ OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS
1. Suwon Human Housing
A family with six children received the service as the first beneficiary of this project in November, 2018. Since then, a total of 26 households have been living in the Suwon Human Housing. Suwon signed an MOU with LH to employ LH rental housing to utilize them as Suwon Human Housing. Suwon is planning to provide 30 to 35 units every year from 2021 to 2025.
Families who benefited from the service said that thanks to the change in their living place, their health condition and the family atmosphere improved, contributing to a higher quality of life. Providing decent living place will solve housing problems of multi-child families who do not own a house and make it possible for them to raise their children as people with sound body and mind who contributes to the society. Also ensuring basic livelihoods helps address the problems of low birth and aging society. The project is significant as it pursues customized housing welfare that deals with blind spot of the national housing welfare policies.
2. Housing Benefit System
Stable provision of housing benefit improves residential standards for the housing vulnerable groups and a total of 22,314 people benefited from the system in 2020.
According to the National Basic Livelihood Security Law, the housing benefit system is based on benefits provided per household, making unmarried young people who live apart from their parents ineligible for the benefits as they are consider as part of their parents household. Unmarried youth in their 20s are now able to receive housing benefits as a separate payment of for youth housing benefits due to the implementation in 2021 of Suwon Housing Benefit System. It will guarantee a stable life for them through the provision of benefits even when they live apart from their parents due to school attendance or job search.
3. Village Sarangbang(Guest room)
The Village Sarangbang project aims to assist citizens recover stable lives when they are in unstable housing conditions, serving as a starting point for vulnerable people to get back to normal. In particular, Suwon has signed an MOU with LH in December, 2020 to add 10 units of emergency support housing for vulnerable people in housing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Young entrepreneurs are also able to make use of the place for free in order to reduce their financial risk and realize their dream. The essence of this project lies in creating a virtuous cycle in which bright young mind who will run their company in Suwon creates jobs in the community as providing them with a place prevent them from moving into other cities to have a job and ultimately stand on their own.
4. Project for Green Builings Construction Support
This project aims to establish Suwon as a low-carbon and green city by transforming its aging houses into eco-friendly green buildings, leading to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and environment pollution. As a result, 1,800 units of aging houses have experienced improvement of their housing environment. Thanks to the sustainability of the project initiated in 2013, citizens' demand for the project is growing every year, contributing to raising citizens' awareness of green buildings and balanced development between regions.
※ Energy Reduction Effect
-Replacing windows and doors : more than 30% of energy reduction
-Replacing LED: 90% of power consumption reduction compared to conventional lights
-Hot water heating panel construction : 50% of energy reduction compared to conventional wet heating
5. Clean Care Project
By 2020, a total of 115 Households had receive support. It aims to clean dusty houses for low income families. This project contributes to raising their quality of life, preventing them from contracting diseases and helping them have a sound mind and body so that they can be socially active. According to a survey, 80 % of the service recipients said they are very satisfied with the service and 14% said they are satisfied with it. The total budget spending for this project is over 96 million Korean Won.
6. Home Service Project : Yes! Civil Complaints Handling Services
Professional technicians visit socially vulnerable households who are living in low quality housing environment and solve inconveniences arising from their daily lives at home,. Since the project was launched in 2012, more than 39,000 home services have been provided (as of 2020.) The level of satisfaction for the services is high considering the relatively small budget spent for the project. The budget used for the project is 200 million won for four toped cars, 180 million won for workers, 80 million won for consumables, which are lower amount compared to other welfare services carried out by Suwon. From its initiation to the year 2020, over 2.35 billion Korean Won has been employed for the project's budget.
+ REPLICABILITY AND SCALABILITY
Housing welfare policies implemented by Suwon are replicable and scalable. When planing to replicate the practices, you should consider the respective solutions in relation to potential difficulties that may arise, such as limited budgets.
In the case of Suwon Human Housing, Suwon signed an MOU with LH to employ LH rental units in order to sustainably operate the project. To implement Village Sarangbang project, Suwon Sustainable City Foundation, a Suwon-funded organization, utilizes vacant houses that are rarely rented and fixes them to provide to young entrepreneurs, social economy enterprises, and low income families for free. This project would be readily applicable by employing vacant houses.
Green Buildings Construction Support Project is operated with talent donation coming from 8 construction companies with sizable constructions projects underway in Suwon. By doing so, they support work for improving energy efficiency of aging building, which addresses budget limitation.
Clean Care Project is being operated with donation money from the Gyeonggi Community Chest of Korea and supported by cooperative work with various bodies including Suwon and Women Local Self-help Center, who provides cleaning and laundry services, and Suwon Happiness Mental Health welfare Center, who offers mental health services. As such, the project is being operated with the joint participation from different bodies.
Replication of Home Service Project Yes! Civil Complaints Handling Services would be viable to replicate as it needs a relatively lower amount of budget.