What is the future of APL? The dispute over housing assistance is re-emerging

Like first-time buyers, renters are the biggest losers in the housing crisis. Despite their decline, interest rates are still high and prevent some people from accessing real estate. Waiting lists for renting accommodation are still growing. Among them are households that have caught their necks mainly due to sharply rising energy bills. Housing benefit, and in particular the famous APL, which caused the government a fiasco seven years ago, cost €15.4 billion in 2022. The amount is falling for the sixth year in a row in line with the decline in the number of beneficiaries, who are 5.5 million to get one (including 2.5 million for APL alone).

A situation that does not please the CLCV association, which claims that APL represents an average of 219 euros per month and per beneficiary household and targets more than 70% of the most modest households. The association recently published a petition addressed to Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and Ministers Bruno Le Maire (Economy and Finance) and Guillaume Kasbarian (Housing). Target? Ask for an increase in APL. In less than two weeks, almost 25,000 people have already signed it. “We require a fixed fee (which is added to APL and which includes energy costs) increased to 100 euros per month to cover at least 30% of the fees due (rent, electricity, heating, water, etc.), asks Jean-Yves Mano, president of CLCV. We also ask that this package be indexed to inflation.»

No APL removal

Faced with soaring fees, the association points to a “significant increase in unpaid bills”: 25% of tenants are unpaid in February 2024, compared to 3% in 2020, according to the Social Housing Union. “The state has been abandoning tenants for 18 years, the last time the share of APL devoted to paying utility bills increased, and there is even a threat of a reduction or even complete abolition of APL», condemns Jean-Yves Mano.

The CLCV president refers to a rumor that suggested the government was considering canceling the APL. Information that the executive has repeatedly denied. “I don’t know where it came from, but I can assure you with certainty that it was never in the Ministry’s project. It’s not my project, it’s not my plan», urged the housing minister last week before members of the economic committee of the National Assembly (see this video, from 26’17”).

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