In an interview on ATV’s Egyenes Beszéd (Straight Talk) broadcasted on 7 October 2013, Habitat for Humanity CEO Andras Szeker stated that 1.5 million Hungarians struggle with a range of problems ranging from homelessness to unpaid utility bills. “Last year 400,000 households were more than three months behind in their utility bills and 160,000 were more than six months behind” says Szeker. According to Szeker 300,000 households can only afford to live in subsidized social housing, the supply of which is limited due to the poor condition of government owned flats. Whereas 75%-80% of Hungarian households are connected to central gas, 80% of Romani households heat with wood.
According to Szekér most state housing supports budgeted in 2012 went to help households struggling with hard currency denominated mortgage loans. According to Szeker, the government spent one-third this amount helping families remain in their flats by settling rent and utility arrears. Szeker believes the government should devote more resources to helping poor households make ends meet. According to Szeker last year 4,000 Ft (USD 19) was the maximum amount of direct government housing assistance any one household could receive.
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