Colombia has initiated a program to provide rental subsidies to vulnerable Venezuelan immigrants residing in Bogota. This decision, announced by the National Housing Fund, allocates up to 522,000 Colombian pesos monthly exclusively for rent payments. The initiative targets Venezuelan migrants facing hardships, aiming to improve their access to decent housing
The subsidy is only for payment of the monthly rent, not to facilitate the purchase of real estate, and seeks to facilitate access to decent housing for this segment of the migrant population. It should be recalled that, according to official data, around 2.8 million Venezuelans reside in Colombia.
The qualifying conditions for this assistance are that the beneficiary does not own property, that the leased property is in Bogotá and that the holder of the lease contract has been a tenant of the same property for at least twelve months. In addition, the applicant’s earnings must not exceed two minimum monthly incomes (2,320,000 Colombian pesos), and he must not have previously participated in other rental subsidy programs.
“The leasing contracts must be signed or modified with the property owners who are part of the leasing program, to whom the subsidy will be directly consigned,” explains the National Housing Fund.
Aid to national and migrant population
Colombia, due to its obvious proximity, is one of the main receiving countries of the Venezuelan diaspora, which began years ago: as the Venezuelan crisis worsened due to the fall in the price of oil and the economic sanctions imposed on the country’s exports, huge numbers left the country in search of better living conditions.
According to official data, although during this year 2023 the number of Venezuelans in Colombia has slightly decreased, there are still slightly more than 2,800,000 nationals from that country residing in Colombian territory.
In general, these are people in vulnerable situations, and the Colombian government has opted to facilitate a series of aids to favor the integration and socialization of this segment of the population. In addition to this housing rental assistance, there are other subsidies such as the School Meals Program (PAE), which provides free lunches to students and for which, like other citizens, Venezuelans may apply if they meet a series of requirements.
Another subsidy is Familias en Acción, which is intended to help families with children under 18 years of age, both nationals and foreigners, in the health and education sectors. Finally, there are also subsidies designed for older people. In this regard, Colombia Mayor provides cash transfers to people over 62 years of age who do not receive a pension and have limited resources. Similarly, Jóvenes en Acción offers assistance to people between 14 and 28 years of age to continue studying in formal education, as well as facilitating access to technical training focused on the labor market.
The Venezuelan population, as well as the national population, may also apply for assistance offered by the Colombian government to entrepreneurs. The Colombia Emprende program provides loans and technical assistance to micro-entrepreneurs, including Venezuelans. In this regard, they must have a business idea, be officially registered as belonging to a vulnerable population and have participated in entrepreneurship training.
Similarly, the Colombia Productiva program provides technical assistance and financing to companies so that they can improve their productivity and competitiveness. Venezuelan citizens can also access the program by meeting the requirements of having a formal business, being officially registered as vulnerable and having completed training in business management.