Prague Plans to Buy Hotels to House Homeless, Emergency Workers

Prague City Hall is calling on property owners to offer their unused hotels, hostels and apartment blocks as part of a project to provide housing for vulnerable peopled during the pandemic.

The City plans to announce the competition soon, which stipulates that they are looking to purchase accommodation facilities for 20 to 90 people, with a total maximum capacity of 500 guests.

They will be used to help homeless and other socially disadvantaged people to quarantine, as well as police officers, firefighters or paramedics who live outside of the city.

The released document argues that the municipality’s provision of accommodation in rented hotels during the first wave of Covid-19 was successful, and so this won’t be much different.

“I hope that the competition will be completed by the middle of next year,” said housing councilor Adam Zábranský (Pirates).

He added that this is a perfect time for such plans, as the drop in tourism caused by Coronavirus has greatly reduced housing prices. He says a commission has been set up to evaluate the tenders received.

The municipality has contacted 17 real estate agencies and six property owners. Within this, they have found five properties on offer for around 2.5 million crowns per incomplete unit and 3.4 million per unit with facilities.

Zábranský claims that the housing council has negotiated a loan from the Council of Europe Development Bank which will cover 60 per cent of the costs of the first selection round.

City Hall and the Council have worked together on reconstructing buildings before. In 2019, councillors approved an interest-free loan of 100 million crowns for the reconstruction of the Sandra hostel in Prague 11.

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