The 52,000 families are waiting for the Mi Casa Ya subsidy to be able to sign their housing deeds they can breathe a sigh of relief. In an interview with TIEMPO, the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory, catalina velasco, make sure that the resources of the program for this year are already guaranteed and that it will be a matter of a few months before the disbursements are made. Of course, see that to receive the economic benefit all families must be in the Sisbén classification.

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Is there already a solution to guarantee all the subsidies of the Mi Casa Ya program?

When I got to the Housing portfolio, I found that there were no resources for subsidies, but the construction companies and families had made progress in building and requesting loans, since they had been promised. It was necessary to cover 23,000 old subsidies plus 52,000 new ones this year, which adds up to a total of 75,000. All this cost 2.2 billion pesos. However, our budget was 1.24 trillion pesos. In order to cover them, we requested some 400,000 million pesos in the addition and as it continued without now we will be able to request another 600,000 million pesos. With this, all my problems will be solved. It would be enough for me to be up to date.

With the resources that are going to be added, will it be guaranteed that no family will lose the Mi Casa subsidy since they had been approved?

In the system of My House Already there were some 500,000 families qualified but that did not mean that all of them were applicants. Those who later look for an apartment, obtain credit, do the real estate business and meet the socioeconomic condition of the sisben survey they do become applicants. So of those there are currently 52,000 families waiting to see if they will receive the subsidy. We will do weekly assignments. I estimate that we will deliver the first 18,000 in April and May.

If the family already has a real estate business but does not meet the Sisbén requirement, does it lose the subsidy?

Before, families self-declared their income and, for example, in a marriage the man earned 3 minimum wages and the woman 2, so the subsidy was requested with 2 but the credit for 5 million pesos, then the program could be cheated . Now you must have completed the Sisbén IV survey and meet a socioeconomic condition by having a classification between A1 and D20 for urban and rural households.

There are families concerned because the construction companies are making them sign letters telling them that they must give up the benefit of the Frech tax because there are no resources to finance it…

It is not true that there are no resources, all the subsidies are accompanied by the coverage of the rate, of 5 and 4 points, that is very important. What happens is that they did not abandon the task done and last year when we warned that the resources could not be disbursed because they were valid for 2023, We ask the construction companies to collaborate with the families. We honor all formal commitments.

Minister Catalina Velasco said that the disbursements of the subsidies are guaranteed.

Photo:

Nestor Gomez – Weather

And how many subsidies would be given in total in the entire four-year period?

Although it was initially proposed to have 27,000 annual subsidies in the National Development Plan (PND), now it will be 50,000 a year, that is, 200,000 in four years. It would be around 1.5 trillion pesos per year for housing subsidies.

There are people who bought houses at low rates years ago and now they cannot afford them because they are so much higher. How worried are you about this situation?

Colombia has historically experienced problems with the housing sector, in the 90s we had difficulties. Now we have a macro situation of high rates, but one is already beginning to see favorable signs and that gives peace of mind and optimism. I think it is important and that is the adjustment that we are giving to Mi Casa Ya. We should think about lower cost housing. For future projects, if the construction companies want to have a greater probability that their clients have a subsidy, it is better that they locate in small municipalities and that they make Housing of Priority Social Interest (VIP), which is 90 salaries. In large cities, the costs are higher, especially the cost of land, and thus a better regional and socioeconomic distribution of subsidies would be achieved.

Some banks have lowered the rates for mortgage credit. Is that the line that everyone shouldn’t follow?

It is a decision of the financial system. What we always tell them is that they offer credit to low-income families and families of informal origin. And what he answers us is that we give them guarantees. The National Guarantee Fund is currently structuring a scheme.

Apart from the Mi Casa Ya program, what other uses will you give to the housing budget?

Apart from the Mi Casa Ya subsidies, we are also going to put all our effort into home improvements. The idea is to make 100,000 a year with resources of 1 billion pesos. In Colombia there are serious habitability difficulties, with very precarious houses, as if they were from the 19th century. In the country there are 4.5 million homes with a ground floor, without a toilet or aqueduct and sewerage system and with cardboard and plastic walls.

How is it possible to execute it and do people really benefit?

The operators that can be popular housing organizations, small businesses, foundations and family compensation funds, among others, must present their improvement proposal and the ministry validates the before and after. We make a payment when we verify that the work was carried out with the technical requirements, which guarantees us to eliminate the risks of misuse of resources.

What to do about the problem of lack of water and basic sanitation?

The water is very bad when it comes in excess and the lack of it also complicates. On the one hand, between 2021 and 2022, 106,000 homes were destroyed by the winter wave. On the other, there are situations like La Guajira where we need to solve the problem structurally. It is not resolved in a day, but in 10 years.

This is one of the aqueduct solutions that the Ministry of Housing has built in the department of La Guajira.

Photo:

Photo/Ministry of Housing.

The latest figures reveal that home sales are falling in the country. What to do to reactivate the sector?

I think that with those 2.2 trillion pesos that we inject to cover 75,000 subsidies, we are giving oxygen to the entire sector. The silver problem My House Already we solved it, but the country continues to have two structural difficulties: a lack of credit for the poorest families and a territorial ordering in the municipalities that do not exist, there are even some that have never had a Land Management Plan (POT).

For example, in Bogotá the withdrawal in home purchase reached 47% in the first two months. What factors are behind?

On the one hand, there are the socioeconomic conditions of the families, people do not have enough to buy. In addition, prices in Bogotá are very high and the third thing is that it is very important to structure land management. One sees that 80 percent of the municipalities have outdated the POT and that with financial management instruments such as valuation and surplus value, almost nothing has been collected.

What will happen to the other housing programs?

We will not finance more ‘Household of Owners’. This program had a budget of 700,000 million a year, but the success rate only reached 6 percent. They gave people a rental subsidy so that what they saved was for the down payment to be able to buy, but people used it for two years and did not become the owner.

Housing construction in Bogotá has been below the demand of households.

Photo:

Carlos Ortega. TIME

So it will only be Mi Casa Ya?

For the purchase of a new home, yes. Then there are improvements and rural housing, which they worked on hand in hand with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Mi Casa Now program requirements:

The program is aimed at people who want to buy a new home, who have not been beneficiaries of another housing subsidy or interest rate coverage and who are not owners in the national territory.

The interested household must have completed the Sisbén IV survey and have a classification between A1 and D20 for urban and rural households.

Since April 10, the platform for new registrations has been permanently enabled and pending applications will be received.

households classified between subgroups A1 and C8 will receive a subsidy for the initial fee equivalent to 30 current legal monthly minimum wages (smmlv), and households between C9 and D20 will be granted a subsidy equivalent to 20 smmlv.

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