It is estimated that up to 30% of the population may have a permanent or temporary impairment of movement or perception. Also, the Polish society is ageing. In 2030, people over 60 years of age will account for nearly 30% of the population. That is why BGK takes steps to increase the accessibility of buildings for persons with special needs.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego and Financial Institutions finance the elimination of architectural barriers in multi-family, collective housing and public utility buildings in the form of preferential, low-interest loans with an option of cancellation of up to 40% of their amount. The loans are addressed to housing communities and cooperatives, social housing associations, public entities (e.g. offices, public educational institutions, public health sector entities), and cultural institutions. The Accessibility Fund is a part of the Accessibility Plus government programme.
Eligible accessibility improvement projects include, for example, elevators in multi-storey buildings, elimination of unnecessary stairs, installation of handholds and handrails and mechanisms for opening doors. They will make life easier for all those who have difficulties in mobility or, for example, with poor sight.
BGK does not charge any fees or commissions for advancing a loan, and the interest rate is only 0.15% for the entire term of the loan of 20 years. A grace period of up to six months is also allowed.
Loans have been granted since 4 October 2019 across entire Poland. As of January 2021, loans up to PLN 2 million are provided by Financing Institutions that signed an agreement with BGK on advancing loans from the Accessibility Fund. Loans in excess of PLN 2 million are granted directly by BGK.
By the end of 2021, 83 loan applications were submitted directly to BGK for approximately PLN 61.52 million. The Bank and financial institutions received a total of 133 loan applications for building accessibility improvements, amounting to PLN 88.78 million.
Moreover, by the end of 2021 96 agreements for a total of PLN 47.96 million were concluded, including 60 agreements for PLN 27.10 million in the direct model, thanks to which the borrowers will install new elevators, eliminate architectural barriers by building ramps and repairing damaged surfaces, and introduce other facilities.