Since the 1977 reform, personal housing assistance has been the main budget item in housing policy. The finance law for 2021 provides for a budget of 12.5 billion euros in housing aid to promote access to housing for low-income households.
Scheduled for 2020, the reform of “ real-time” APLs had been postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Its implementation date was finally set for January 1, 2021 . From now on, personalized housing assistance (APL), family housing allowances (ALF) or social housing allowances (ALS) are calculated on the basis of the resources of the last twelve months and no longer on that of income received two years earlier. .
Three types of help
Three types of housing assistance have been created since 1948:
- the family housing allowance (ALF)(new window), created by the law of September 1, 1948(new window), comes under the social security code. It is allocated to the tenant or co-tenant or sub-tenant (declared to the owner) of a furnished or unfurnished accommodation, to the first-time buyer who has received a mortgage for the purchase of his home, to the resident in a household accommodation. The accommodation must be the primary residence and meet minimum requirements of decency and tenure conditions. This allowance is means-tested to families, single people or young households.
- the social housing allowance (ALS)(new window)also falls under the social security code(new window)and was created by the law of July 16, 1971(new window)in order to help categories of people other than families, characterized by the modest level of their resources (elderly people, disabled people, young salaried workers under 25, students, etc.). This allowance was gradually extended and then generalized from 1 January 1993 to categories which were still excluded from personal assistance. Thus, it is granted to any person, subject only to resources, who does not meet the criteria set to benefit from the ALF or the APL.
- (in the case of rental) or to the manager of the hostel, or to the banking establishment (in the case of home ownership).
Since 2016, the three aids have been financed by the National Housing Assistance Fund (FNAL)(new window). The financing of the FNAL is ensured at the same time by a contribution of the employers, a contribution of the systems of family benefits and a budgetary endowment of the State which ensures the balance of the fund. For the year 2018(new window), the state provided the largest share (83%). The finance law for 2021(new window)provides for the payment by the Action Logement group of a contribution of one billion euros to the FNAL ( article 196(new window)).
Profile of beneficiaries
In 2019, around 6.6 million households benefited from personal housing assistance services (out of the 29.2 million households in France). The DREES (Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics) drew up an assessment of the living conditions of beneficiaries of housing assistance(new window), published in October 201
The beneficiaries have a lower monthly standard of living than the entire population: 1,190 euros on average and 1,100 euros on the median against respectively 1,950 euros and 1,690 euros.
Beneficiary households live more than all households in a situation of overcrowding (26% against 8%, ie three times more) or in housing with at least one quality defect (38% against 23%). Households receiving housing assistance are also younger, more female and, out of all beneficiaries, one in five households is a single-parent family (84% of single-parent households are mothers with their children).
Half of tenant households are beneficiaries of housing assistance. And the APL finances on average half of the expenses for the housing of the beneficiaries.
The purpose of personal housing assistance is to reduce the housing expenditure of households with modest incomes. They cover on average 49% of the main rent excluding charges in the case of APLs, around 36% in the case of ALF and ALS(new window).
Their impact reduces the financial effort of the beneficiaries. The financial effort is measured by calculating the rate of effort borne by households, that is to say the share of housing expenditure on net income . The gross effort rate, before deduction of allowances, is higher for tenant households and beneficiaries of housing assistance. The differences are reduced for the net effort rate, after deduction of allowances.
In fact, housing assistance reduces by a third the aggregate effort rate of the households that benefit from it, lowering it from 41% to 27% , while it goes from 19% to 18% for all households. households. Housing allowances thus reduce inequalities in the rate of effort. However, with an identical scale, the net effort rate, all charges included, is higher among tenants in the private sector (28%) than among tenants in the social housing stock (24%).
However, since the 1990s, the net household effort rate has increased while the cost of personal assistance has increased. This observation made by the National Observatory of Poverty and Social Exclusion (ONPES) in May 2012(new window) is due to the absence of revaluation of the scales but also to the rapid increase in rents and charges in the social or private rental stock.
The Drees study confirms that between 2001 and 2013 the household effort rate increased for all categories of standard of living. On the other hand, low-income households have higher effort rates, gross expenditure for housing amounts to 60% of their resources against 36% for low-income households and 25% for the better-off.
Joining the ONPES diagnosis, other studies conducted by the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS), INSEE or the Court of Auditors(new window), show that the social effectiveness of public housing assistance has deteriorated over the decade. However, in this 2015 report, the Court of Auditors underlines the redistributive nature of personal housing assistance which is concentrated on the most modest households (75% of recipients are in the first three income deciles).