Housing co-operatives in Uruguay have received a boost through loan grants from the National Housing Agency, which manages assets in the housing loan portfolio with directives from the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and the Environment.
The agency granted loans to 11 co-operatives to build 409 homes in the capital Montevideo and further inland. One of the first to sign the loan was the Covipino co-op in Ciudad de la Costa, which raised funds to build a housing complex for 21 families. The Covisuco co-op in Florida raised enough to house 46 families.
The co-operative housing movement in Uruguay was established at the end of the 1960s, providing new and rehabilitated dwellings through a system of mutual help and the self-management of resources.
Currently, there are over 600 co-ops throughout the country, in both cities and suburbs, and they form a fundamental part of the developmental and cultural renaissance of the historical centre of Montevideo.
It is widely agreed that the agreements from the National Housing Agency reinforce the intention of the public housing system to strengthen co-operativism, self-construction and new housing programmes.
“Despite deep roots within the unions, housing co-operatives are committed to social integration and their doors are open to every Uruguayan citizen who needs housing,” said Pablo Caballero, secretary general of the Uruguayan Federation of Housing Cooperatives for Mutual Assistance (FUCVAM).
“This has been a proud half-century of innovation, positive results and of solid implementation in a movement made by Uruguayan workers.”
He added: “Perhaps co-operative housing’s best innovation is the adoption of positive values such as solidarity and advocacy – values that the working class has defended since the beginning. Since co-operatives are overwhelmingly born from the worker unions it is not surprising that housing co-operatives have helped to mark a path to a more just and equitable society – defining characteristics of our movement.”
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