The Czech Republic is adjusting the financial assistance provided to households accommodating Ukrainian refugees. Starting in July, these households will receive up to CZK 15,000 ($700) per month to cover the costs of housing refugees. The assistance will be given as a humanitarian grant to refugees, who will then forward the funds to their hosts.
This change comes after the end of the solidarity contribution program in June 2023. However, experts warn that the new assistance amount may not cover the costs of hosting refugees, especially for unregistered properties.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has proposed a government regulation outlining the new funding arrangement. The housing costs covered will be based on the number of refugees living in a particular home or apartment. For registered properties, the amount will range from CZK 3,000 ($140) per refugee per month to CZK 15,000 ($700) for five or more refugees. However, for unregistered properties, the amount will be 20% lower, ranging from CZK 2,400 ($110) to CZK 12,000 ($550) per month.
Landlords must pay taxes on the housing expenses covered by the assistance. To qualify for the support, landlords must have a signed lease agreement. Both the lease and the appropriate tax must be paid, just like in the case of Czech households. The government hopes this new measure will encourage more landlords to offer their homes or apartments to refugees, providing safe and legal accommodation.
However, some landlords and experts believe that the new assistance amounts may not be enough to cover the costs of hosting refugees. The previous solidarity contribution program provided up to CZK 15,000 ($700) per month, which many landlords argue was insufficient to cover expenses like utilities, maintenance, and repairs. Therefore, landlords may be hesitant to participate in the program, which could lead to housing shortages for refugees.
As of January and February 2023, the Czech government has already spent CZK 3.84 billion ($177 million) on assisting Ukrainian refugees. According to the Ministry of the Interior, there are currently 7,429 Ukrainian refugees registered in the country, with the vast majority living in the regions of South Moravia and Prague.